(Source: www.straitstimes.com)

SINGAPORE – The first weekday morning operations for the new Tuas West Extension (TWE) has been going smoothly on Monday (June 19) so far, a day after its opening on Sunday.

When The Straits Times travelled with commuters at around 7am from Joo Koon MRT station towards the four new stations that make up the TWE – Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West Road and Tuas Link – the train ride had no delays.

The 7.5km-long TWE, that extends the East-West Line (EWL) further west into the Tuas industrial area is expected to serve 100,000 commuters daily and will benefit those working in the Tuas area, who previously had to rely on company-catered shuttles or public feeder buses to get to their workplaces.

One of them was Mr Reujavai, 29, a store-in-charge, who usually travels to work by a bus from Joo Koon bus interchange. On Monday, he travelled on the west-bound train towards Tuas Link station. “The bus journey usually takes 30 minutes but the train journey now takes around 7 minutes,” he said.

“I didn’t think that I would reach my workplace so soon by MRT as I expected some delays,” said Ms Chew Poh Ling, 49, a printing worker who reached her destination, Tuas West station, at 7.11am. She starts work at 8am, and she usually travels to her workplace by bus. However, she added that there was a fairly long delay at Pioneer station which she estimated to be about 10 minutes.

This delay was pre-empted by SMRT due to the switchover to the new signalling system. The TWE runs on the new communications-based signalling system, compared to the fixed-block one that the rest of the EWL is operating on.

Other than serving those who work at the Tuas industrial area, some commuters who stay in dormitories in the area were also seen using the extension to get to work. “I’m trying this out for the first time today,” said Mr Dass Chandru, 26, a sign mechanic who was travelling from Tuas Link to Buona Vista station on the EWL. He usually takes public bus 182.

The first weekday of operations was quiet. Many of the train carriages travelling on the TWE were not crowded.

Service ambassadors from LTA and SMRT are stationed at all four new stations to direct commuters around the platform and to answer their queries. The ones from LTA stationed at Joo Koon station were holding signboards informing commuters not to tap out if they were travelling towards Tuas Crescent, Tuas Avenue 20, Tuas Link 4 and Tuas Avenue 7.

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