Relook rail fares for transfers between City Hall, Esplanade

Commuters using the new Downtown Line 2 at Newton MRT station and Bukit Panjang MRT/LRT station would be required to tap in and out for transfers to another line ("Exit and re-enter on two DTL2 transfers"; Wednesday).

Fares will be calculated as a single journey if the transfers are made within 15 minutes.

I was wondering if the Land Transport Authority and SMRT could relook fare calculations at another common place of transfer between rail lines.

Esplanade and City Hall MRT stations are linked by CityLink Mall.

However, if commuters want to transfer from one of these stations to the other, their journeys will be charged as two trips, since these stations are on different MRT lines - City Hall is the interchange station for the East-West and North-South lines, and Esplanade is on the Circle Line.

For commuters coming from stations west of City Hall MRT station but whose final destinations are a few stations away from Esplanade MRT station, it does not make sense to penalise them for making the transfer at CityLink Mall.

Currently, these commuters will have to travel all the way to Paya Lebar MRT station and make a transfer to the Circle Line for their journey to be considered a single journey.

In Hong Kong, at places where rail lines are separated by a short walking distance, the fares are calculated as a single journey - and in some instances, commuters get a HK$2 (40 Singapore cents) reward for walking.

Hopefully, the authorities can find a way to allow transfers between Esplanade and City Hall MRT stations - linked by a short walk through CityLink Mall - to be charged as a single fare.

This can promote more efficient use of the rail system and encourage walking.

Lee Yong Se

This article was first published on December 4, 2015.
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