It was around 11pm in Singapore. I was at Bugis MRT station with a friend and we were waiting to board the train towards Joo Koon. The display board showed 6 mins to the next train.
When the train arrived, it wasn’t too crowded and people managed to get on alright. At the next station (City Hall), more people came on and the train started to get crowded. At Raffles Place, even more people boarded and by then the train was packed.
All the way from Raffles Place to Jurong East, the train was packed. Not as packed as the morning crowd, but 80 to 90% of the morning packness.
I have nothing against packed trains during the morning peaks. But packed trains during off-peak times are psychologically extremely annoying. Because you’re not expecting it to be busy. And it wouldn’t have been busy if the frequency wasn’t 6 minutes (or more).
Singaporeans are making more trips. Not just during the peak-hours but also off-peak. While peak hour travel remains our priority, the quality of off-peak travel is also important so that people are given some ‘breathing room’ and do not experience crowded public transport in all their trips throughout the day.
Looking at the Cost Benefit ratio, I’m sure running more trains during off-peak would not hold. By reducing the frequency, you pack more people in less trains. But that’s entirely a profit-driven mindset. However, I think that for the well-being of people, some profit has to be sacrificed.