Biggest air-con interchange opens
Mon, Dec 28, 2009
my paper

By Rachel Chan

COMMUTERS at the air-conditioned Boon Lay bus interchange mostly gave it the thumbs-up on its first day of operation yesterday.

They liked its convenience, being able to wait for their bus in air-conditioned comfort and being protected from the elements.

The $24-million facility, located in Jurong West Central 3, is integrated with Jurong Point mall.

Taman Jurong resident Tony Yeo, 42, said: "The old temporary interchange was cramped, hot and stuffy. It's much more comfortable in the new one."

Mr Gary Shen, 28, a financesector executive living near the interchange, said: "It offers me a shortcut to the MRT station. It's a faster alternative route compared to cutting through the Jurong Point basement." But traffic flow could be improved, he said.

Buses enter the interchange via Jurong West Central 3, and are slowed down by cabs picking up passengers from a taxi stand there, he explained.

Madam Leng Choe Fung, 46, was a tad confused by the new locations of the bus berths.

"The berths for the buses I'm used to waiting for together have been separated. I need more time to get used to this," said the cleaner.

SBS Transit, which runs the interchange, had timed the opening of the interchange to fall on a weekend, so that commuters would have time to familiarise themselves with the layout before the work week started, said a spokesman.

COOL: Commuters at Boon Lay interchange say they enjoy waiting for their bus in air-conditioned comfort.

The facility is built on the site of the old Boon Lay bus interchange, which was demolished in 2006. A temporary interchange was then built 150m away, at the junction of Boon Lay Way and Jurong West Street 64.

The 20,000-sq m interchange is Singapore's fourth air-conditioned bus interchange, after Toa Payoh which opened in 2002, Sengkang in 2003 and Ang Mo Kio in 2007.

It is the largest and will be the busiest, with an expected passenger load of 55,000 on a weekday, when all its 33 services operate out of it by the first quarter of next year.

The second-largest such air-conditioned facility, the 17,000-sq m Toa Payoh interchange, has a weekday passenger load of 39,000.

Thirty bus services are operating out of the new Boon Lay interchange.

The last three services - 179, 179A and 199 - which ply routes to Nanyang Technological University and the National Institute of Education, are still operating from the temporary interchange due to high passenger volume. They will be moved to the new facility in the first quarter of next year.

The temporary interchange will then be handed to the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

Transport Minister Raymond Lim had said in August that the LTA will build more "integrated public-transport hubs" that give commuters easy access to adjoining shopping areas and other transport modes.

The next air-conditioned integrated interchanges, being built at Serangoon and Clementi, are slated to open in 2011. In the next 10 years, commuters can also expect such interchanges in Jurong East, Bedok, Joo Koon and Marina South.


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