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Expect shorter wait times for off-peak trains

MORE RAPID TRANSIT: Since the start of the year, SBS Transit has pumped in more than 400 weekly train trips on the North-East Line. SMRT will add 400 weekly train trips on the North-South and East-West lines and 350 on the Circle Line. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES


    Jan 10, 2014

    Expect shorter wait times for off-peak trains

    THERE will soon be shorter waits for all trains during the off-peak period, as rail operators roll out 1,150 more weekly train trips.

    Already, since the start of the year, waiting times on the North-East Line have been cut to between three and five minutes outside the rush-hour period, down from 31/2 to six minutes. SBS Transit pumped in more than 400 weekly train trips - an increase of 13 per cent - to bring the timings down.

    By September, waiting times on the North-South and East-West lines will also be cut to less than five minutes during the off-peak hours, compared to the current seven minutes or less. To do this, SMRT will progressively ramp up weekly train trips by over 400, or 5 per cent more.

    Waits on the Circle Line will also be shortened from the current seven minutes or less to six minutes or less eventually, in the light of an additional weekly 350 train trips on the line.

    These improvements were announced yesterday by the Land Transport Authority, which also revealed statistics of train delays last year.

    Contrary to the general public impression that rail delays are now commonplace, figures show that the number of such incidents has fallen over the past several years.

    For every 100,000km travelled across the entire MRT network last year, there were 1.18 incidents involving delays of more than five minutes, a 20 per cent drop from 2012's 1.49 figure. In 2011 - the year two major train disruptions on the North-South Line affected some 220,000 commuters - the figure stood at 1.75.

    Improvements, however, varied across the different lines. On the North-South and East-West lines, the number of incidents dipped by 15 per cent from 2012 to last year, largely due to infrastructure upgrades, including new technology to detect abnormalities in the supply of power to the trains.

    On the Circle Line, incidents were cut by about half over the same period, due to a power-cable-replacement exercise at all stations, which will be completed by the end of this month.

    The North-East Line, however, saw an increase in incidents of 18 per cent within the same period, despite cases caused by train and system faults dropping by 12 per cent.

    Based on past reports, trains could also be delayed by passengers' shoes or toys being stuck in the gap between the train and platform, which prevent train doors from being closed.

    Digital marketing manager Anisha Lee, 25, who sometimes has to work late, said she appreciates the improvement in waiting times on the Circle Line. "It will help me get home a bit faster after a long day at work," she said.