Volunteers test and give feedback on signs at Downtown Line 3 stations

A typo in an annotation of the Pan Island Expressway, as seen on a locality map at the platform of the Downtown Line 3's MacPherson Station.
A typo in an annotation of the Pan Island Expressway, as seen on a locality map at the platform of the Downtown Line 3's MacPherson Station. ST PHOTO: ADRIAN LIM
Volunteers at the Macpherson Station.
Volunteers at the Macpherson Station. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Volunteers at the Macpherson Station.
Volunteers at the Macpherson Station. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
Volunteers at the Bedok North Station.
Volunteers at the Bedok North Station. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Pan Expressway Island. Most would have glossed over the typographical error found on a locality map at the Downtown Line 3's (DTL3) new MacPherson MRT station.

But it did not escape the sharp eyes of university undergraduate Lim Boon Kiat, 22, who spotted the incorrect annotation of the Pan Island Expressway.

Mr Lim was among a group of 100 volunteers who spent about two hours on Friday afternoon (Aug 4) taking train trips and exploring stations on the DTL3, which will officially open on Oct 21.

Their job? To gauge the effectiveness of signs and maps placed around the stations in helping commuters get around, and to provide feedback to the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Through what it calls a signage walk-through, the LTA hopes to identify potential gaps, and address them before the stations are opened.

Similar exercises were also conducted before the opening of the Circle Line, the Tuas West Extension and the Downtown Lines 1 and 2 (DTL 1 and DTL2).

The DTL3 comprises 16 stations over a 21km stretch, running from Fort Canning to Expo, and passing through areas such as Jalan Besar and Tampines. It will join up with the DTL1 and DTL2, which runs from Bukit Panjang to Chinatown.

On Friday, the 100 volunteers - including grassroots leaders and residents living nearby - explored seven of the stations: Bendemeer, Geylang Bahru, Mattar, MacPherson, Ubi, Kaki Bukit and Bedok North.

They were split into four groups and given tasks via their mobile devices, to locate exits, landmarks and other station facilities, and to take the train to other stations.

The participants interviewed by The Straits Times said they were able to get around without fuss, but gave suggestions on how signs and maps could be improved.

Madam Chong Sook Fong, 61, a retiree, said symbols could be used on the maps to indicate key points of interest, such as religious or government buildings. "It'll be easier for people to find the landmarks and which station exits to take," Madam Chong added.

Mr Lam Zhi Hao, 21, who is waiting to be enlisted, said that some of the overhead signs at MacPherson station could have more directions on them. He said that besides putting road names guiding commuters to their exits, landmarks could also be added in.

Mr Leow Kwok Kee, 62, a retiree, suggested placing more signs at one of the station exits on the ground level at Bendemeer station. He said some of the places around the station, such as the Jalan Besar Swimming Complex, are about a 10min walk away, and a sign could point commuters in the right direction.

Meanwhile, Mr Lim said of the "Pan Expressway Island" error he spotted: "It's a minor mistake but such errors may lead to commuters not trusting the (accuracy of) the map."