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    Mar 10, 2016

    More commute via buses, trains

    MORE Singapore residents are taking public transport to work, with the addition of new train lines and an expansion in the fleet of public buses.

    A government survey shows 58.7 per cent of residents aged 15 and older, or about 1.26 million people, took either the MRT or public bus, or a combination of both, to work last year.

    This is an increase from 54.6 per cent in 2010, and 50.7 per cent a decade ago.

    Often, it is the preferred way to get to work for residents in Toa Payoh, Sembawang, Bukit Merah and Queenstown, with over six out of 10 choosing the train or bus.

    Conversely, the proportion of residents who drive to work is highest among those living in the better-off districts of Tanglin, where it is about 55 per cent, Bukit Timah (54 per cent) and Marine Parade (35 per cent).

    This travelling pattern of citizens and permanent residents is shown in the latest General Household Survey, done every five years to track the changing profile of the Singapore family, including its size, type of accommodation, educational level and religion.

    The survey by the Statistics Department was done from May to July last year, with findings released yesterday.

    The increased use of public transport is reaffirmed in the annual Public Transport Customer Satisfaction Survey, whose findings were also released yesterday.

    They show commuters' satisfaction level for bus and train services has risen 0.5 percentage point to reach 91.8 per cent this year, the highest since 2010's 92.2 per cent.

    As a result, fewer use the car to get to work: 21.9 per cent (about 470,000 residents) last year, compared with 24.8 per cent (465,000 residents) in 2010 and 22.9 per cent (377,759 residents) in 2005.

    A major reason for the switch to public transport is the addition of three MRT lines in the past 15 years to the train network. The Government has also spent billions of dollars on expanding the fleet of public buses.

    The North East Line, connecting central Singapore to the north-eastern part, started operating fully in 2003.

    The Circle Line, which covers central Singapore, Buona Vista and Paya Lebar, became fully operational in 2011.

    Parts of the Downtown Line running from Bukit Timah to Chinatown opened at the end of last year.

    Lim Biow Chuan, who sits on the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, said he is heartened by the survey findings. "In the past, even those who found driving to work expensive would still do so as they found public transport inconvenient.

    "But the Government has been improving connectivity, for example with the Downtown Line, and adding more buses and trains to shorten commuters' wait time.

    "Overall, their experience has improved," he added.

    But IT recruiter and Punggol resident Jeremy Huang, 33, still drives to work daily as he has to take his two young children to their pre-school in Bedok Reservoir Road, before going to work at Changi Business Park.

    "I may consider taking a bus to work when my kids are older," he said.