Yishun jams ease with new measures

Traffic was smooth along Yishun Avenue 2 in front of the new Yishun Integrated Transport Hub yesterday morning.
Traffic was smooth along Yishun Avenue 2 in front of the new Yishun Integrated Transport Hub yesterday morning.ST PHOTO: TOH TING WEI

Traffic light timing adjustments, marshals help improve flow a day after snarls in transport hub area

Commuters and road users passing by the new Yishun Integrated Transport Hub enjoyed a smooth journey yesterday, a day after long lines of buses in the area caused congestion during the morning and evening rush hour.

Measures had been put in place to manage the traffic, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

The timings of the traffic lights at the junction were adjusted and more marshals were deployed to manage traffic flow into and around the transport hub. In addition, buses yet to start their shifts were not allowed to turn into the interchange at the hub during peak hours, in a move to reduce congestion.

The LTA said: "All these helped to ease congestion this morning and buses were able to enter or exit the integrated transport hub within one or two traffic light cycles."

When The Straits Times visited the area between 6.50am and 8.30am, traffic was smooth along Yishun Avenue 2 in front of the transport hub.

About 10 traffic marshals were seen at the two entrances of the hub, with a few more deployed inside to manage the flow of buses.

All buses making right turns into the hub from the opposite side of the road could do so without any problem, and they moved on fast enough such that a queue did not build up. Buses turning in from the side of the road closer to the hub also headed into the facility without much delay.

 

The transport hub, which opened on Sunday, is operated by SMRT Buses, a division of SMRT Roads. The hub comprises an air-conditioned bus interchange connected to Yishun MRT station, and is integrated with Northpoint City mall.

A driver for bus operator Go-Ahead Singapore, who declined to be named, said the deployment of more marshals helped to improve traffic flow inside the hub.

He said he does not foresee further issues now that operations have been fine-tuned.

But a 39-year-old SBS Transit bus driver, who has been driving for six years, is less optimistic. "This interchange is smaller than other interchanges and there are many buses here, so there might be jams again in the future," he said.

ST understands the Yishun transport hub is similar in size to the one in Bedok. While the Bedok hub had congestion issues following its opening in 2014, the problems were resolved with measures such as changes to the traffic light timings.

Yesterday's traffic condition at Yishun was starkly different from that on Monday.

The traffic jams delayed the journeys of some commuters by as much as 30 minutes during rush hour. Some had to alight from buses and walk to Yishun MRT station.

Commuters said buses could not turn into the interchange even when the traffic light was in their favour. Buses were stuck on the road in a zigzag manner as they tried to move to the lane to turn into the interchange, they added.

The LTA and SMRT Buses said on Monday that they were working to address the "teething issues". The LTA added that bus operators needed time to familiarise themselves with "the new environment".

Mr Kelvin Foo, managing director of traffic and transport consultancy TTS Group, said initial jams are not unusual even with plans to manage traffic. The plans are then fine-tuned in response to the behaviour of road users.

Mr Foo said the traffic issues in Yishun will likely be mitigated "after an adequate monitoring process".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 11, 2019, with the headline 'Yishun jams ease with new measures'. Print Edition | Subscribe