New Tengah residents lament lack of public transport options, long walk to nearest bus stops, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

New Tengah residents lament lack of public transport options, long walk to nearest bus stops

Administrative assistant Chan Si Hui has had no choice but to put off moving into her new flat in Tengah by almost four months, because of the town’s limited public transport options right now.

Despite collecting the keys to her Plantation Grange flat on Aug 30, Ms Chan, 39, is renting another flat elsewhere with her elderly parents. She plans to move in only when a bus stop along Tengah Boulevard, which is closer to her flat, is slated to open in December.

As Ms Chan’s parents, both 75, will be living with her, Ms Chan was worried that the walk to the nearest bus stop – now 15 minutes away by foot – would be too arduous for them.

They have to get around ongoing work on the Jurong Region MRT line to reach this bus stop at Block 111 in Plantation Acres. There, service 992 – one of two bus routes serving the first two Tengah precincts, Plantation Grange and Plantation Acres – takes residents to Bukit Batok MRT station and bus interchange.

Ms Chan is among dozens of residents of the new “forest” town who are lamenting the inaccessibility of public transport near their new homes. She was behind a survey, done between Sept 7 and Sept 17, that gathered feedback from her estate’s residents on the bus services.

The findings of the survey, which polled 59 residents, were submitted to Hong Kah North MP Amy Khor, as well as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Housing Board. Among other things, it found that some wanted a direct bus service to Jurong East.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, Dr Khor, who is also Senior Minister of State for Transport, said some infrastructural work, as well as accessibility in Tengah, might be “out of sync for a short while”.

This is because HDB has been handing out keys progressively for completed blocks, instead of waiting for the completion of the entire precinct, owing to construction delays.

HDB told ST that the keys for about 295, or 12.6 per cent, of the 2,333 units in Plantation Acres and Plantation Grange have been collected as at Sept 26.

Dr Khor added: “As the roads in the area are also not completely done up and open, some of the bus stops... in the area will also be completed and open in stages to further improve accessibility.”

With the start of bus service 992 on Sept 24, a temporary shuttle bus service that previously connected Plantation Acres residents to Bukit Batok stopped on Sept 30.

Like Ms Chan, Mr Ken Quek, who is unemployed, noted that it takes him up to 15 minutes to walk from his flat at Block 133C Plantation Grange to the nearest bus stop.

He said he has to walk along Tengah Boulevard and Tengah Drive, instead of taking a direct route through the blocks.

Other residents lamented the lack of public transport options in the area.

Mr Chan Yuke Man, who moves into Plantation Grange at the end of December, said he would have to make two bus transfers to take his daughter to St Anthony’s Primary School in Bukit Gombak. The 58-year-old said they could walk to the school within that time.

Responding to ST’s queries, LTA said it plans to improve public transport connectivity for Tengah residents to other areas, including Jurong East, with the completion of more housing developments in the area. More details will be made public in the coming months, it said.

Meanwhile, HDB said it was aware of residents’ concerns but sought their understanding that it would take some time to build up amenities and infrastructure within the new Tengah town, unlike in most other Build-To-Order developments, which are in existing HDB towns.

It added that it has instructed contractors not to park along the roads or block the entrances and exits of housing developments, and is working with agencies to ensure the orderly and safe flow of construction vehicles.

LTA and HDB added that they were working together to maintain a safe walking path for residents travelling to and from the nearest bus stops. Bus service 993, which serves another bus stop farther away along Bukit Batok West Avenue 8, operates to and from Jurong East interchange.

Before the Plantation Plaza Neighbourhood Centre starts operations from the second quarter of 2024, HDB said it would bring in temporary provisions such as vending machines offering hot food at the void deck of Block 111A in Plantation Acres. It will also work with a supermarket operator to deploy a mobile grocery truck service in Tengah by November or early December.