Despite the many hours spent engaging residents and other stakeholders on the temporary Yishun bus interchange, grouses among commuters have arisen days after the SMRT-run interchange began operations.
In particular, the location of the temporary facility and its larger size came in for criticism.
The old Yishun bus interchange was situated opposite Yishun MRT station and beside Northpoint Shopping Centre, and all three places were connected by an underground links. The new facility, which opened on Saturday (March 14) is positioned opposite Northpoint Shopping Centre, and commuters must now cross an extra road to get from the MRT station to the interchange.
The temporary interchange is meant to serve residents until the new Yishun Integrated Transport Hub is ready in 2019. The hub will feature an air-conditioned bus interchange with an underpass link to Yishun MRT station and it will also be connected to the upcoming Northpoint City development.
In a Facebook post on Mar 14, SMRT said before the move, it invested “many hours” engaging Yishun residents, schools in the area, the Ministry of Transport and the Land Transport Authority, noting “such relocations can make the headlines for the wrong reasons”. It conducted trials with wheelchair users and engaged commuters to serve as service ambassadors in the first few days of operations.
Commuter Fatimah Jaafar, 62, found the distance between the new interchange and the MRT station a strain on her body. “I have to walk from the MRT station all the way to the interchange every day from Monday to Saturday. Not good for an old woman like me,” said Ms Fatimah, who has had a kidney transplant.
Some commuters were also unhappy that the new interchange, at 27,000 square metres, is bigger than the old 20,000-square metre interchange. “Just walking from one end to the other is very tiring,” said student Dwight Adriel, 14.
Other minor complaints include the misuse of the priority queues, the occasional traffic jams that occur at the entrance of the interchange, and confusion over the amended routes of a certain number of buses.
However, some commuters agreed that it is too soon to judge the new interchange. Visiting the new interchange for the first time on Monday, Mr Zulkifli Ariffin, 34, said: “It just opened a few days ago. Give it maybe one or two months and we can then see whether it is good or not. Right now, I think the interchange is not that bad for a temporary one.”