From 24 June 2013, under the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) one-year free pre-peak travel trial, commuters travelling by rail into the city centre on weekday mornings before the peak period – those who exit at 18 designated city MRT stations before 7.45am – will enjoy FREE train rides.
Commuters who exit at these stations between 7.45am and 8am will receive a discount of up to 50 cents off their train fare.
UPDATE 7 Dec: As the Downtown Line 1 is located within the city centre, LTA will also expand the ongoing pre-peak FREE travel trial to include the new DTL1 Telok Ayer and Downtown stations when the line opens on 22 December 2013. This brings the total number of stations to 18.
The trial is funded by the Government as part of its near term efforts to ease morning peak hour crowding on trains, even as it aggressively increases rail capacity through adding new lines and additional trains in the coming years.
Commuters who are able and willing to make changes to their travel schedule are encouraged to travel earlier into the city area before the morning peak. Employers are encouraged to facilitate their employees to travel earlier to take advantage of the scheme.
The scheme is not applicable on weekends and public holidays.
The 18 designated stations are Telok Ayer, Downtown, Telok Ayer (NEW), Downtown (NEW), Bugis, Chinatown, City Hall, Clarke Quay, Dhoby Ghaut, Lavender, Orchard, Outram Park, Raffles Place, Somerset, Tanjong Pagar, Bayfront, Bras Basah, Esplanade, Marina Bay and Promenade. Trips that start at any of these 18 designated stations will not be applicable for free travel or fare discount.
Adequate capacity during morning pre-peak
There is currently adequate capacity on the trains during the morning pre-peak period to cater to more travellers. For example, just before the peak hour (between 7.15am and 7.45am), the average train loading on city-bound trains is around or below 3.5pax/m2 for the North-South, East-West and North East Lines, compared to 4 to 5pax/m2 during the peak hour.
There is also spare train capacity that we can deploy during the pre-peak period. LTA is working closely with the train operators to make appropriate adjustments to the train schedules to cater to the potential increase in pre-peak travel, and will monitor the change in travel patterns and make further adjustments where required.
Station staff will be on hand to assist passengers and ease commuter flow when the trial begins. More exit fare gates will be activated at the city centre stations to cater to possible increase in commuter exits.
What commuters need to do
Commuters who wish to enjoy free travel on rail are advised to:
- Plan their journey and travel earlier, to avoid disappointment if they exit the designated stations later than the prescribed times.
- Be gracious and do not rush when queuing to tap out at the fare gates.
- Use stored-value cards. The trial is not applicable to users of a Monthly Concession Pass (MCP) or Standard Ticket.
Common questions on Free Pre-Peak Travel Trial
Q1. Why is free travel not applicable for commuters travelling within the city area?
The trial aims to achieve maximum cost-benefit impact, by reducing the demand for morning peak hour travel along the most crowded stretches of the rail network, which are largely for travel from outside the city area going into the city area.
One of the most common complaints now is that commuters are unable to board trains during the most crowded periods in the morning peak, at some stations outside the city area. Stations in the city area typically do not see such a problem as there are many commuters who are exiting at these stations, thus allowing other commuters to be able to board the trains.
Commuters travelling within the city area can join the ‘Incentives for Singapore’s Commuters’, or INSINC, scheme to accumulate points for rewards when they travel during off-peak hours. (www.insinc.sg.)
Q2. Can child/student concession card holders enjoy free travel / the 50cents discount?
Yes. The free travel trial is targeted at city-bound commuters. This would include students who have to travel into the city to get to school, as well as children who may be dropped off by their parents at childcare centres near the 18 designated stations on their way to work.
Q3. Will senior citizens enjoy free travel / the 50cents discount?
Yes, they will enjoy the free travel if they exit any of the 18 designated city centre stations before 7.45am, and fare discount of up to 50 cents from 7.45am to 8.00am.
Q4. Will students/NSFs using Monthly Concession Passes (MCP) enjoy a discount if they use it to travel into the city centre before 8.00am?
Under the Monthly Concession Pass (MCP) scheme, card holders would have paid upfront for their MCP, which caps their monthly public transport expenditure. There is no easy way to extend the scheme to MCP holders, and would entail complex changes to the MCP scheme and the fare system. Moreover, there is already a concessionary element in the MCP scheme.
Those using MCPs currently can choose to travel using stored-value cards if they wish to enjoy the pre-peak free rides or discounts, but they will have to weigh, based on their own travel patterns, whether this is more worthwhile for them, or to still purchase MCPs.
Q5. If a commuter exits before 7.45am from a designated MRT station and then transfers to a bus at 7.50am, is the bus ride considered a transfer ride enjoying transfer fare?
Yes, the trip would be considered as a transfer if it meets the transfer rules. However, there will not be any pre-peak discounts for the bus-leg fare, as the trial is applicable only to train trips into the city centre.
The transfer rules are as follows:
- Transfer time limit of 45 minutes
- All journeys must be within 2 hours of the first boarding on the same journey
- Single entry and exit allowed for rail
- Current bus service must not be of the same number as the preceding bus service
- Maximum of 5 transfers can be made within a journey
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