New bus interchange opens in Tampines with special facilities for elderly and disabled people

Authorities say there will be 40 additional SBS Transit staff on hand to assist for the first few days.

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Buses waiting at SBS Transit bus terminal in Singapore Reuters

A new Tampines Concourse Bus Interchange started its services on Sunday linking through a 250-metre sheltered walkway.

The new bus interchange also has a dedicated boarding point and graduated kerb edges to provide hassle-free facilities to the passengers in wheelchairs. The concourse area also has priority queues with seats for the elderly and disabled people.

This new interchange compliments the existing one and is expected to increase the capacity providing more bus services to the commuters.

At present, the interchange is served by three bus services - the new number, 129, and two existing services, 18 and 39. The later ones have been moved from the current interchange. The interchange includes 12 bus parking lots on site and two berths for passengers to board buses.

Authorities said there will be 40 additional SBS Transit staff on hand to assist for the first few days.

A 62-year-old Jenny Song, who has been living in Tampines for more than 30 years, told Channel NewsAsia: "Very nice, it feels comfortable to come here. The old interchange is a bit cramped."

When asked about the operations, most of the commuters said it was smooth, however, there were a few people who encountered some hiccups.

Yong Siow Lin and her husband spoke about a time when the driver made a wrong turn. They had been travelling on new bus service 129.

"Instead of turning to the right, (the driver) went straight, so there was a bit of commotion there," Yong told Channel NewsAsia.

"Everybody was so worried and my husband had to go down and tell the driver, Uncle, you went the wrong way you know? He then led him and reversed back to the right route," she added.

But, Yong also said that she was not upset by the small detour, noting that it was the first day of operations. She also gave the driver a benefit of doubt to the driver and said perhaps he was unfamiliar with the route.

Meanwhile, some other commuters also raised questions regarding the distance between the new interchange and the existing Tampines Bus Interchange.

"I thought the distance is quite far because it is about 250m relative to another interchange - the new extension at Sengkang is just opposite the road," 16-year-old Melvin Cheng said.

"So I thought perhaps SBS Transit could implement a free shuttle service to shuttle commuters in between these two interchanges in the near future," Cheng added.