Coronavirus pandemic

Trains, buses return to pre-circuit breaker frequency from today

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan (centre) observing as a staff member removed a safe distancing notice from a seat on a bus at Ang Mo Kio Bus Interchange yesterday. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan (centre) observing as a staff member removed a safe distancing notice from a seat on a bus at Ang Mo Kio Bus Interchange yesterday. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Commuters can expect regular train and bus services as the nation gears up to return to work today, when circuit breaker measures are eased.

Train and bus intervals during all hours will return to pre-circuit breaker levels and operate at the shortest "operationally feasible" intervals, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday. Train operating hours will also return to normal.

However, some bus services serving mainly discretionary or recreational areas will continue to be suspended, as the LTA expects demand for such services to remain low.

"These include night bus services, Chinatown direct services, service 926 which goes to the zoo, service 401 which serves East Coast Park, and services 188R and 963R which serve Resorts World Sentosa," LTA said.

According to a notice in April put out by the LTA, trains on the North-South, East-West, North East, Circle and Downtown lines ran at pre-circuit breaker intervals of three minutes during peak periods and around five minutes during off-peak periods.

Commuters taking the Thomson-East Coast Line can expect train frequencies of around seven minutes during peak periods, and 12 minutes during off-peak periods, according to the same notice.

Due to low numbers, social distancing has so far been achievable between commuters, but the increasing number of public transport users means it will be tougher to enforce safe distancing measures, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in a Facebook post yesterday.

In an earlier post, Mr Khaw had said that with increasing ridership, the authorities will boost the capacity of trains and buses to the maximum.

The green and orange social distancing stickers plastered over alternate seats in trains and buses will be removed as physical distancing will be difficult once the crowds return, he added.

Boarding queue markers at bus interchanges and seat markers on train platforms will also be removed, but where physical distancing is still possible, such as at bus stops and bus interchanges, seat markers will be retained.

Public transport operators will continue with enhanced cleaning regimes, while a new self-disinfecting anti-microbial coating that lasts up to six months will also be applied on high-contact points on buses and trains such as handrails, buttons, grab poles and seats.

An SMRT employee removing a safe distancing sticker from an MRT train seat yesterday ahead of the end of the circuit breaker. The stickers are being removed as physical distancing on trains and buses will be hard once crowds return. Seat markers will
All set for phase one after circuit breaker: An SMRT employee removing a safe distancing sticker from an MRT train seat yesterday ahead of the end of the circuit breaker. The stickers are being removed as physical distancing on trains and buses will be hard once crowds return. Seat markers will be retained at places such as bus stops. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

"We still urge Singaporeans to work from home, and for those who need to leave home... avoid traditional peak hours. Even then, there will be times when safe distancing will not be possible," Mr Khaw said, adding that it was important for all commuters to wear a mask all the time.

 
 
 

He also encouraged commuters to check in and out with the SafeEntry app at train stations and bus interchanges, avoid talking to one another or on phones on public transport, and observe good personal hygiene.

SafeEntry QR codes are also being progressively rolled out to all taxis in Singapore.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2020, with the headline 'Trains, buses return to pre-circuit breaker frequency from today'. Print Edition | Subscribe