The MRT has recently opened a new line – the Thomson-East Coast Line 3 (TEL3). And Singapore seems to have outdone itself with this new addition.
Connecting Stevens, Napier, Orchard Boulevard, Orchard, Great World, Havelock, Outram Park, Maxwell, Shenton Way, Marina Bay, and Gardens by the Bay, TEL3 is quite a feat.
Its four-car trains will be 92.9m long (which is long considering the trains from the Circle Line and Downtown Line are only 70m), fully automated, and travel 43km through Singapore.
TEL3 connects shopping malls, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore Botanic Gardens and even the Singapore Sports School, making it truly efficient for people to move around.
With convenience and efficiency being the core purpose of the TEL3, its trains also boast more doors for faster boarding.
On top of that, the stations themselves are purposely designed to be more accessible to more people.
Over 180,000 households are now within a 10-minute walk from an existing TEL station, saving them roughly 40 per cent of travel time.
The TEL3 stations also have more entrances and longer pedestrian underpasses to offer more shelter and cut walking times.
What’s more, the TEL3 boasts the world’s first four-in-one train and bus depot.
It will have three train depots and one bus depot, which has the capacity to house 220 trains and 760 buses in multi-storey complexes.
This means it saves over 60 football fields (44ha) in land.
This all sounds great and many Singaporeans from the East and along the North-South Corridor are already enjoying faster commutes with more stations to come till 2025.
Except, not quite.
An eagle-eyed netizen has pointed out that the time it takes to go from station to station on the TEL3, as written on the platform line maps, is not accurate.
Science Experiment in Motion
In a Reddit post, the netizen explains that they first took notice of this inaccuracy as they found it “odd” that it supposedly only took one minute to travel between most of the TEL3 stations.
This was especially strange given the time taken for trains to wait at the stations.
And that was all it took for this netizen to get to work.
Using the stopwatch on their phone to record how long it took for trains to travel from station to station, the netizen found that “the actual duration is significantly larger than what is stated on the platform line maps”.
In tables, which can only be described as one that would make any science teacher proud, the netizen created, it is clear that the TEL3 trains do take longer than stated to reach their stops.
While some trains took only 33 seconds longer than stated, some took up to eight or nine minutes longer.
But that’s not all this netizen has done.
Going above and beyond in their investigation into this matter, this netizen has even helped to decide if taking the TEL3 will help you reach your destination faster than if you took the North-South Line.
Timing the duration of travel “between stations where the NSL and TEl interchange”, this netizen’s results show that “it takes a shorter time to travel between Woodlands and Orchard when using the TEL rather than the NSL, but the time is almost similar […] between Orchard and Marina Bay”.
They concluded that the amount of time one would save is “not that large” and, as such, “if [one’s] final [destination] [is] nearer to the NSL”, one “should not change trains between TEL and NSL at Woodlands or Orchard since the time savings for TEL will likely be outweighed by transfer and waiting times”.
It is true – not all heroes wear capes.
Some use stopwatches on their phones and travel the MRT line to make your day easier.
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Within the span of eight days since the first Reddit post about the inaccuracies was posted, change has already been enacted.
In an update post about the matter, the netizen wrote that they were notified of a change in estimated travel timings on platform maps at the Woodlands North and Woodlands stations.
These changes reflected an increase in travel timings, closer to what the netizen had previously recorded.
The MRT hero then took it upon themselves to carry this project to the end.
Checking the platform maps of nearly all the TEL3 stations, the netizen found that some platform maps had indeed been changed!
From Woodlands North to Caldecott and from Havelock to Gardens by the Bay, the platform maps had been changed to reflect more accurate travel times.
However, from Stevens to Great World, the platform maps had not been updated.
Nevertheless, the changes being made seem to show that the TEL3 platform maps have been “progressively changing” and that Singaporeans should “expect all platform […] maps across TEL to be changed in the coming days”.
The netizen also added that they may update their post if they “have proof that more of [the] platform line maps have been changed”.
Ending their Reddit post by thanking “the people at LTA/SMRT for acting swiftly” and “for already beginning to change out some of the platform line maps within a week of [their] post”, the netizen hoped that these changes would allow people to better enjoy rides on the TEL3.
A Happy Ending
Many other netizens applauded this MRT hero for their work and dedication to the matter, commenting that they were “doing God’s work” and thanking them.
If anything, the way the public was able to work together with officials to sort this matter out to make people’s lives better makes for quite the happy ending.
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