What’s coming Post Circuit Breaker?

Covid-19 has disrupted our daily lives and we have almost reached the middle of 2020 battling the virus. As we continue to adapt to the evolving situation, measures and safeguards have been put in place by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and public transport operators.

Before we dive into some issues, let’s take a look at a timeline of these measures implemented during the circuit breaker and what we can expect post circuit breaker.

5 April 2020Refund of concession pass bought before 4 April

LTA Facebook Post
9 April 2020Stickers were introduced to demarcate seats to be avoided and designated standing space

Thermal scanners introduced at selected MRT stations

LTA Facebook Post
14 April 2020Mandatory to wear mask when taking public transport

LTA Facebook Post
17 April 2020Reduced frequencies and shorten operating hours on the MRT

LTA Facebook Post
18 April 2020Transport Minister noted the overcrowding of trains on Friday (17 April) and told LTA to “over supply than to under supply” during this period

Minister Khaw Boon Wan Facebook Post
20 April 2020MRT frequencies were adjusted to allow commuters to practice safe distancing while travelling

LTA Facebook Post

It is apparent that things would not return to the way it was once the circuit breaker is lifted. Safe distancing will still be required while out in the public although this would be a challenge to adhere as noted by LTA in a Facebook post on 20 April.

Further adjustments have been made to our train frequencies to ensure commuters can keep a safe distance from one…

Posted by Land Transport Authority – We Keep Your World Moving on Monday, 20 April 2020

Mask would have to be worn while travelling as a “practical compromise”. Thermal scanners would likely continue to be deployed at selected stations and Transport Ambassador (TA) would continue to be deployed to advise on safe distancing.

A problem likely to surface would be the safe distancing stickers which demarcates seats to be left empty and to mark out designated standing space. Marked out seats on trains Demarcated standing spots While these stickers serve as a good demarcation, it is only effective now due to the low ridership. Safe distancing would be harder to adhere to as noted by the authorities when the ridership increases.

When the circuit breaker measures ends and as more people travel, seating space or standing spots would definitely be at a premium. If something is not done such as adding of additional standing spots, or removing the standing spot sticker and giving commuters free reign of standing, arguments or conflict would most likely erupt given the ongoing vigilantism for safe distancing. One could argue that the passenger could wait for the next train, however during peak hours, all trains will likely be packed, and the reluctance of passengers having to wait indefinitely for a train that has a spot to stand on makes this an implausible solution.

While this article is written with our own knowledge and understanding and we may not have the full grasp of the situation, we trust that the authorities have already foreseen such a scenario from happening, and that appropriate measures have been planned to mitigate such an issue from happening.

These measures would definitely cause some inconvenience. However, let us remain hopeful that this episode will be over soon, and all these would be a thing of the past.

In the subsequent post, we will discuss how the circuit breaker impacts train operations. Till then, stay safe and travel only when needed.

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Currently pursuing Bachelor in Computing Science. Have an interest with technology and how it will be a future enabler in improving efficiency and work process. Interested in railway operations and planning.