Khaw Boon Wan: Avoid peak-hour travel, don't talk on public transport in Covid-19 season

We'll be able to achieve safe-distancing in buses and trains if we can substantially reduce peak hour demand.

Joshua Lee| March 23, 03:06 PM

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Cut down unnecessary travels, don't talk or talk softly while on buses and trains, and avoid travelling on public transport during peak hours.

These are some ways Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan wants Singaporeans to consider adopting in a bid to substantially reduce peak hour demand.

Cut down unnecessary travel

Speaking at a tour of the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) station Bright Hill on Monday (Mar. 23), Khaw urged commuters not to use public transport if they're sick and to wear a mask and see a doctor instead.

He also asked commuters to cut down on unnecessary travel during this Covid-19 season.

Public transport commuters should also try not to talk at all, or softly if they need to, he continued. "Let the commuters have a quiet journey," he said.

Employers here can also assist with tackling peak-hour demand by implementing staggered working hours, flexible work timings and telecommuting.

"In fact, by saving traveling time, we have more time to do work," said Khaw, who also voiced his hope that flexible work arrangements can become a permanent fixture post-pandemic.

"This will also reduce peak-hour demand and the pressure on us to add more trains and more lines. This will also save taxpayers a lot of money," he said.

TEL Stage 2 on track to open in 2020

Meanwhile, the second stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line (which Bright Hill station is a part of) is on track to open this year.

The first stage of Thomson-East Coast Line — Woodlands North, Woodlands, and Woodlands South — will close earlier and open later on the weekends from Apr. 3 to Jul. 26, 2020.

These stations will close at 10pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday.

They will start service at 6.30am on Saturday and Sundays.

This is to facilitate testing of all nine stations on Stages 1 and 2 of the TEL.

Stage 2 of the TEL comprises six stations (Springleaf, Lentor, Mayflower, Bright Hill, Upper Thomson, and Caldecott) and is expected to benefit more than 60,000 households.

Top image by Joshua Lee.