Too early to tell success of free train ride trial: Lui

SINGAPORE - The free peak hour travel on MRT has resulted in a 7 per cent decrease at exits between the peak period of 8am and 9am.

The take-up rate for the 7am to 8am period is about 19 per cent increase in exits since the 1-year free travel trial was launched on June 24, slightly more than a month ago. 

However, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said on Monday that is it "still early days" to draw conclusions about the impact the trial has had on spreading early morning peak hour demand. 

Minister Lui was responding to Member of Parliament R Dhinakaran's questions about the take-up rate of the free peak hour travel on the MRT and whether it has helped in easing commuter congestion on the trains during peak hour,

Here is the Transport Minister's written reply in full:

"Madam Speaker, the one-year free travel trial was launched on June 24, 2013 to alleviate congestion on the rail network by offering commuters free travel for the rail leg of their journey if they exit any of 16 city area stations before 7.45 am, and up to 50 cents discount for exits between 7.45 am and 8.00 am.

"So far, the trial has resulted in about 7% decrease in exits for the peak period of 8.00 am to 9.00 am, and about 19% increase in exits for the pre-peak period of between 7.00 am and 8.00 am.

"Another way of looking at the effectiveness of the trial in smoothening the morning peak period travel is to compare the ratio of exits for the peak period hour between 8.00 am and 9.00 am, with that for the pre-peak hour between 7.00 am and 8.00 am. For the 16 city MRT stations, encouragingly, this ratio has gone down to 2.1 after the implementation of the free travel trial, compared to 2.7 before the trial.

"It is still early days yet for us to draw conclusions about what the sustainable changes will be. We will continue to monitor the trial, and will provide a more detailed assessment in due course."