Jun 25, 2013

    Free MRT rides: Few jump on bandwagon

    FEW commuters made the effort to wake up earlier to take advantage of free train rides before the peak-hour period yesterday.

    The Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday kicked off its one-year trial of free travel on the rail network for commuters who end their journey before 7.45am on weekdays at 16 MRT stations in the city area. Commuters who exit these stations between 7.45am and 8am will receive a discount of up to 50 cents.

    However, just three of the 12 passengers that My Paper spoke to at Raffles Place Station from 6.45am to 7.45am said they adjusted their travel schedule to take advantage of the free rides.

    According to the LTA, there was a 9 per cent drop in the number of commuters exiting the 16 designated stations during the peak period between 8am and 9am yesterday, compared to the average daily figures for the first three weeks of this month.

    LTA's trial is part of efforts to ease commuter flow to the city area during peak hours.

    One of those who made the effort to wake up earlier, 27-year-old product manager Aung, who is from Myanmar, said he plans to have breakfast in town before he goes to work.

    Another commuter who changed her travelling time, communications assistant Sally Loke, in her 50s, said: "I'm just going to start work early because I don't really spend a lot of time on breakfast."

    Several commuters did not think that trains were more congested than usual during the free-travel period yesterday.

    Bank assistant manager Jennifer Tay, 47, said: "I was surprised that it was not more crowded (with) the free train service."