Trains did not break down during rush hour yesterday, but there was a big public outcry over transport.
This, after The Straits Times reported that the MRT would be the preferred form of transport to ferry athletes between the Singapore Sports Hub and the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) during the ASEAN Para Games (APG) this December.
All the athletes and officials will stay at MBS during the Games, with eight of 15 APG sports held in Kallang.
The issue, which was also discussed on radio, led Singapore ASEAN Para Games Organising Committee (Sapgoc) to hold a last-minute media briefing to clarify matters.
In a 45-minute session at the Sport Singapore offices yesterday, Sapgoc chairman and SportSG CEO Lim Teck Yin revealed that there has always been a shuttle bus option with "enough buses to cater to everyone", and MRT was one of the other options.
"They will be staying at MBS, access to the MRT station is direct, sheltered and air-conditioned and, within three stops, they are here (at the Sports Hub)," said Lim.
"But, for whatever reasons, whether it's an athlete trying to stay in the zone... or team officials prefer to isolate their team, or the athletes themselves say they don't want to travel by train, there is a bus plan."
Wheelchair-accessible shuttle buses and vans will run between MBS and the Sports Hub at five-minute intervals during peak periods, and every 10 minutes during off-peak periods.
Also, shuttle buses will be available to bring para-athletes from the Stadium MRT station to various venues in the Sports Hub and its vicinity, which were not available during the SEA Games in June.
Also new at the upcoming Games is the family hotel shuttle, which ferries families of visiting para-athletes from their hotels to the venues.
While the Games will take place between Dec 3 and 9, shuttle services will start on Dec 1, as athletes are officials are expected to arrive from Nov 30.
Lim added that the organisers are encouraging athletes to take public transport because of the unique circumstances present at the APG.
He estimated that shuttle bus trips between MBS and the Sports Hub may take about 30 minutes, including boarding and disembarkation, whereas a trip on the MRT can be "less than 10 minutes".
Unlike the SEA Games, where more athletes were dispersed among 20 hotels, with various competition venues, APG athletes and officials will be housed in one hotel, which is linked to the main competition venue - the Sports Hub - via the Circle Line, which is not as busy a train route as the East-West line, for example.
"The idea (behind athletes taking public transport) is to find ways to bring our athletes, officials and delegates closer to the public," said Lim.
He added that visiting ASEAN Para Sports Federation officials and chef-de-missions have been sounded out on the MRT plan on separate occasions, and organisers were given the "thumbs up" after these officials took the train themselves from MBS to the Sports Hub.
Lim said he felt compelled to clarify the "information gap" yesterday because of two main concerns he had.
"Number one, that (para-athletes) are low-class citizens in terms of transport," said the former national water polo player.
"Number two, that we don't have the resources and, as one caller to a radio show said, we are too lazy to plan for this.
"A little information is a dangerous thing, that's why I am doing this to nip it in the bud."
This article was first published on Oct 9, 2015.
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