Ulu Pandan bus stop has commuters confused

Is this a bus stop or an obstacle course?

This was how Mr Allan Zheng, 52, reacted when he went to a "temporary" bus stop at Ulu Pandan Road on Monday.

It has all the trimmings of a bus stop - a shelter, seats and even a bus sign.

But a metal guardrail and a row of shrubs blocked access to the road from the bus stop.

So a commuter would have to negotiate past the waist-high shrubs and climb over the knee-high barrier to board a bus.

This was what Mr Zheng had to do to board a bus at the bus stop.

Mr Zheng, an advertising freelancer who lives in Pine Grove, said: "It was nice that an alternative bus stop was put up when the old one is closed. Trouble is, not a whole lot of thought seems to have been put into it.

"Children and the elderly would definitely not be able to get over the guardrail."

He added that he usually uses the bus stop that is just opposite the condominium and is accessible via an overhead pedestrian bridge. (See map.)

"The bus stop is used by Pine Grove residents because it is just across the road," he said.

But it has been barricaded and taken out of service since last Sunday because of canal widening works nearby.

A sign was placed at the old bus stop to inform users of the closure and advised commuters to use the bus stop in front of the Police Kins Training Camp, about 100m away.


Last night, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) clarified in a statement that this bus stop and another other across the road were not meant to be used yet.

Mr Shafiee Mohd Esa, Senior Principal Engineer, PUB's Catchment and Waterways Department, said: "As part of the Bukit Timah First Diversion Canal Phase 1 to enhance flood protection for the Upper Bukit Timah catchment, two bus stops at Ulu Pandan Road are temporarily closed.

"After consultation with residents of Pine Grove, they have agreed to use the existing bus stops nearby while the two replacement bus stops are being constructed.

"They are not yet operational and have been barricaded until they become fully functional in a week's time."

But commuters like Mr Zheng could have been confused because there were no signs to say the bus stops were not yet in operation and because the buses also stopped for passengers there.

On Thursday afternoon, a reporter from The New Paper flagged down a bus there. Like Mr Zheng, he had to climb over the barrier to reach the bus.

When TNP was there, a teenage girl also got off a bus at that bus stop.

She looked confused and did not climb over the barrier to get to the bus stop. Instead, she waited at the side of the road and boarded another bus soon after.

Maintenance workers were also seen removing the shrubs and part of the barrier.

When TNP went back yesterday evening, the temporary bus stop had been barricaded to indicate it was not in service.

When setting up a bus stop...

1 It should not be too near or adjacent to traffic junctions 
and pedestrian crossings.

2 It should not be located at bends or crests in the road. This is to ensure that the bus driver has a clear view of passengers at the bus stop and vice versa.

3 It should provide sufficient shelter for passengers to protect them from the weather.

4 Where possible, it is best to install a "bus lay-by", a recessed bus bay which allows buses to stop without obstructing the flow of traffic.

5 Buses should be able to draw up close to the edge of the kerb to let passengers board.

- Mr Chong Kee Sen, president of the Institution of Engineers, Singapore