Train and bus intervals will return to pre-circuit breaker levels: LTA

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Social distancing will become more difficult as public transport ridership increases, says Transport Minister

Commuters can expect regular train and bus services as the nation gears up to return to work today, when circuit breaker measures are eased.

Train and bus intervals during all hours will return to pre-circuit breaker levels, and operate at the shortest "operationally feasible" intervals, said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday. Train operating hours will also return to normal.

But some bus services serving mainly discretionary or recreational areas will continue to be suspended, as LTA expects demand for such services to remain low.

"These include night bus services, Chinatown direct services, service 926 which goes to the zoo, service 401 which serves East Coast Park, and services 188R and 963R which serve Resorts World Sentosa," LTA said.

According to a notice in April put out by LTA, trains on the North-South, East-West, North East, Circle and Downtown lines ran at pre-circuit breaker intervals of three minutes during peak periods and around five minutes during off-peak periods.

Commuters taking the Thomson-East Coast Line can expect train frequencies of around seven minutes during peak periods, and 12 minutes during off-peak periods, according to the same notice.

Due to low numbers, social distancing has so far been achievable between commuters, but the increasing number of public transport users means it will be tougher to enforce safe distancing measures, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan in a Facebook post yesterday.

In an earlier post, Mr Khaw had said that with increasing ridership, the authorities will boost the capacity of trains and buses to the maximum.

The green and orange social distancing stickers plastered over alternate seats in trains and buses will be removed as physical distancing will be difficult once the crowds return, Mr Khaw added.

Boarding queue markers at bus interchanges and seat markers on train platforms will also be removed, but where physical distancing is still possible, such as at bus stops and bus interchanges, seat markers will be retained.

Public transport operators will continue with enhanced cleaning regimes and a new self-disinfecting anti-microbial coating, which lasts up to six months, will also be applied on high-contact points on buses and trains such as handrails, buttons, grab poles and seats.

"We still urge Singaporeans to work from home and for those who need to leave home... avoid traditional peak hours," Mr Khaw said, adding that it was important for all commuters to wear a mask all the time.

He also encouraged commuters to check in and out with the SafeEntry app at train stations and bus interchanges, avoid talking to one another or on phones on public transport, and observe good personal hygiene.