First Night Of Reduced Train Times In May Leads To Long Queues For SMRT Shuttle Services

It should have been an easy commute home on a Friday night.

But for passengers travelling to northern parts of Singapore on Friday (May 4), the journey was anything but easy or fuss-free.

That’s because they were the first passengers affected by May’s round of Early Closure, Late Openings.

This social media video shows the chaos that erupted at Newton, where train services from Marina South Pier stopped.

Instagram video: jkx_x

At Newton, passengers were made to board a shuttle service that passed through the 7 affected MRT stations:

  • Novena
  • Toa Payoh
  • Braddell
  • Bishan
  • Ang Mo Kio
  • Yio Chu Kang
  • Khatib

The bus service ended at Yishun, after which passengers had to board a train towards Jurong East.

Poorly organised

Poor organisation made this complicated experience worse, and netizens took to SMRT’s Facebook page to vent their frustration at the chaos.

The problem seems to have stemmed from a display board that said train services were ending at Bishan, when in fact, they ended at Newton.

This led to confusion when SMRT staff asked passengers to alight at Newton, where they had to wait in a long queue for the shuttle service.

Source

It’s surprising that it was so poorly organised, since this isn’t the first time SMRT has carried out early closures and late openings.

Another netizen took issue with the planning of the shuttle route.

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He suggests having two separate shuttle routes:

  1. The first to ply between Newton, Novena, Toa Payoh, Braddell, Bishan and Ang Mo Kio
  2. The second to ply between Newton, Novena, Yio Chu Kang, Khatib and Yishun

This makes sense, since Thomson and Marymount roads link Novena and Yio Chu Kang stations directly, without the detour of the Bishan-Toa Payoh region.

It would help commuters going to northern stations like Woodlands get home faster, since travel time to Yishun would be cut down.

Will day 2 fare better?

As SMRT prepares for yet another day of early closure and late openings, we hope that staff are better trained to manage the crowds.

It is the weekend after all, and most Singaporeans are out and about on the MRT.

An before we lose our temper at SMRT staff, let’s remember that the reduced timings may be inconvenient, but it gives SMRT’s engineering teams more time to carry out maintenance and rectification works.

Next station, rail reliability, we hope.

Featured image from Instagram.