First DTL2 weekday service goes smoothly
THERE was a steady stream of people at Bukit Panjang MRT station yesterday morning - the first work day after the second phase of the Downtown Line 2 (DTL2) opened officially on Sunday.
Many people familiarised themselves with the route, left their cars at home and skipped the bus.
The 16.6km DTL2, comprising 12 stations, connects the estate to places such as Little India, Bukit Timah and Bugis. Stops along the line include Botanic Gardens and food haven Beauty World.
Many Bukit Panjang residents, who have long complained about the lack of public transport options, were glad to be able to take the train instead of the bus to the city.
Cindy Loh, 42, for instance, took the train to Newton. The human resources executive said: "It usually takes me about 40 minutes if I take bus service 190. But today, it took me only 20 minutes."
She was especially happy that she no longer has to endure traffic jams. She recalled being stuck once in a two-hour jam on bus service 190 in the morning rush period.
Others, like housewife Goh Siew Hing, 52, took the chance to venture to Chinatown, which is also along the line, to have breakfast with her mother and friends.
"Previously, we had breakfast only at Fajar or somewhere in Bukit Panjang. Now, we can eat at Chinatown," she said.
Some residents along the line also took the train to show their children how to get to their new schools.
Ronnie Sim, 46, a sales manager, went from Hillview to Stevens Station with his wife and daughter, who will be going to Secondary 1 at the Singapore Chinese Girls' School, a short walk from the MRT station.
While there were no major hiccups, the train doors at Botanic Gardens Station towards Newton did not open and some passengers had to go to the next station to return to Botanic Gardens.
This happened just once for a short while.
Tammy Tan, senior vice-president for corporate communications at SBS Transit, said it was due to a momentary train signalling fault and the train continued on its journey without further issues, opening and closing its doors at all other stations.
Until Jan 1, rides will be free along the 12 stations of the DTL2 and the six Downtown Line 1 stations, which opened two years ago.
However, commuters leaving Newton MRT Station on the North-South Line and Bukit Panjang LRT system will have to tap out before getting to the DTL2.
If they want to enjoy free travel on the DTL2 until Jan 1, they have to wait for 15 minutes before entering the line.
Commuters who transfer lines within 15 minutes will pay distance-based fares.
The Land Transport Authority said that over the next few days, there will be more than 320 volunteers, including residents and staff, assisting commuters at the 12 new Downtown Line stations.