Bukit Panjang transport hub opens

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The new Bukit Panjang integrated transport hub - incorporating a new bus interchange as well as the existing Bukit Panjang LRT and MRT stations - opened on Monday (Sept 4), after a two-year delay.

Staff from SMRT - which operates the integrated transport hub, the ninth such facility here - were on hand to guide commuters around the 6,800 sq m facility.

First announced in 2012, the transport hub was originally scheduled to open in 2015 but faced a two-year delay because of construction difficulties encountered by the developer, Sim Lian Group. Connecting the hub to the MRT station, for instance, required a 13m-wide canal to be diverted.

It takes about three minutes to walk to the new transport hub from the Bukit Panjang MRT station on the Downtown Line via an underpass.

The hub is also fully integrated with the Hillion Mall, which opened in February (2017).

While the convenience of having the bus interchange linked to the LRT and MRT lines impressed commuters whom The Straits Times spoke to, some felt there was still room for improvement.

Bukit Panjang resident Jasline Goh felt there could be some confusion, especially for school-going children taking the bus, with some services changing their routes with the opening of the new transport hub.

"I think it's still okay now as it's still the school holidays, but there might be more confusion next week when school reopens," said the 39-year-old housewife.

"(The children) might need some time to get used to the new routes."

The routes for 16 bus services - including nine stopping at the new bus interchange - were amended with the opening of the new transport hub.

Another commuter, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Cheong, said while new features such as air-conditioning could provide relief for tired commuters, more could be done to make the hub more user-friendly.

For example, feeder services 920 and 922 could be placed together at the same berth, as they were at the Bukit Panjang temporary bus park, which served the area for about five years while the transport hub was still being constructed.

This would make it easier for Bukit Panjang residents, who often are able to take either bus depending on where they choose to drop off, said Mrs Cheong.

"Now we have to walk from one side to the other, depending on which bus comes first," said the 70-year-old retiree.

Four services - 75, 184, 700 and 700A - continue to operate from the Bukit Panjang temporary bus park on Woodlands Road, about a kilometre away from the transport hub.