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    Jul 28, 2016

    More using DTL after rollout of second stage

    MORE commuters are riding the Downtown Line (DTL), following the opening of its second stage (DTL2) late last year.

    This line is a 16.6km, 12-station stretch connecting to the north-western parts of the island.

    The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday that average daily weekday ridership has nearly tripled from 83,000 in October, before the DTL2 opened, to more than 250,000 in the middle of this month.

    Ridership has been growing steadily after the line's opening - in the first quarter of this year, it was 223,000 but the figure grew 6.7 per cent to 238,000 by the second quarter.

    But while the LTA has said that more commuters are now taking to public transport, encouraging those in the Bukit Timah area - characteristic of its affluent private estates - to go car-lite may need a bigger push.

    The DTL2 starts in Bukit Panjang, with stops in Bukit Timah including Beauty World and Sixth Avenue, before passing through Little India and Rochor and connecting to the six-station Downtown Line 1 at Bugis.

    LTA shared yesterday that the average number of weekday journeys on public transport along the DTL corridor has risen by about 60 per cent, compared with before the DTL2 opened.

    These journeys include bus or train rides, or a combination of both to reach a destination.

    "It is likely that more commuters have shifted from driving to taking the DTL," the LTA concluded.

    Still, data showed that the bulk of the commuters taking the DTL2 in the morning peak periods towards the city are from Bukit Panjang, with fewer getting on at stations along the Bukit Timah corridor.

    National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der-Horng believes that those living in private residences in Bukit Timah have not given up their cars, as they face issues of "first-and last-mile connectivity" - that is, travelling from their homes to the nearest MRT station.

    Meanwhile, the LTA said yesterday that the DTL2 has helped to reduce the passenger load on other MRT lines during the morning peak hours.

    The number of commuters on two heavily-used segments - the North-South Line along Bukit Batok-Jurong East, and the East-West Line along Jurong East-Clementi - has dipped by up to 10 per cent.