Sunday, July 11, 2010

Add more carriages to trains

Jul 11, 2010

I refer to last Sunday's article, 'Peak-hour crush'.

While it is true that the current infrastructure limits train capacity, as SMRT has pointed out, the issue has to be resolved because Singapore's population will continue to grow, and trains still have to carry more passengers.

Hence, it is myopic to maintain the status quo in our transport situation.

Here is a suggestion on how to improve the situation: Extend our six-carriage trains by adding two more carriages each - that is, one extra carriage at each end.

The load capacity of each train would effectively be increased by a third.

But how would these eight-carriage trains fit into current station platforms, which are only six carriages long?

To put it simply, they do not have to. The first and second carriages could share a common carriage door, while the seventh and eighth carriages could share another.

Though passengers get onto the trains at every station, most get off only at stations within the Central Business District (CBD).

The additional carriages would cater for passengers who are expected to alight at these stations, where the trains pretty much 'empty out'.

Yin Shanyang

[I should be more optimistic and supportive of good ideas. And this theoretically is a good idea. However in practice... I'm not optimistic. At least with buses, the drivers can try to cajole passengers to move to the rear to make room for incoming passengers, and practice a tacit blackmail by not moving the bus until passengers heed his pleas. On a train, during rush hour, with 2 or 3 minutes intervals between trains, drivers do not have the luxury... for trains with drivers. No one to shout, "Ao buay bo quee!" ("There're no ghosts at the back of the bus!") to use humour to try to get passengers to comply.

With the extra carriages which are rather long, and with only one exit now, only a few rational and non-kiasu Singaporeans will move to these carriages and most passengers will crowd at the doors. As it is, the carriages at the extreme ends are usually less crowded because most people find the cars at the extreme ends rather inconvenient (too far), let alone carriages beyond the platforms.

Better to just run more trains on a tighter schedule - like every 90 seconds during peak hours.]

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