SINGAPORE: Commuters who head to work early will continue to enjoy free rides for another year under the Free Pre-Peak Travel scheme, Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo said on Thursday (Jun 23).
Under the programme, commuters who end their journey before 7.45am on weekdays at 18 designated MRT stations in the city area get to ride for free. The stations include Raffles Place, Orchard, Tanjong Pagar, Chinatown and Bugis.
Those who exit these stations between 7.45am and 8am get a discount of up to S$0.50 off their train fare.
The scheme was first launched in June 2013 as a year-long trial, but was extended twice and was due to end on Jun 30 this year. It has now been extended to Jun 30, 2017.
About 65,000 commuters use the Free Pre-Peak Travel scheme daily, Mrs Teo said, speaking at the Travel Smart Day 2016 at Asia Square on Thursday morning. According to LTA, there has been a sustained reduction of 7 per cent in the number of commuters during the morning peak period since the scheme was launched.
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The Free Pre-Peak Travel scheme is part of the overall Travel Smart Network, where the Government provides funding to organisations for initiatives that help their employees travel during off-peak hours as well as to use alternative forms of transport, like walking and cycling, to get to work.
More than 100 companies have joined Travel Smart since it was launched in August 2014. About 14,500 commuters, or nearly 10 train loads, have since shifted out of the 8am to 9am peak period over the entire MRT network, LTA said.
"Travel Smart is about getting people to work efficiently," Mrs Teo said. "But it is also about helping people to work more flexibly and at the same time, fulfil their job requirements."
Mrs Teo also cited companies who have encouraged their staff to adopt a healthy lifestyle and switch to off-peak travel. For example, logistics company Santa Fe installed shower facilities with personal lockers in their office for their employees, while insurer Allianz provides breakfast vouchers to encourage staff to reach the office before 8am.
Other companies who were recognised at the Travel Smart Day include Ubisoft and Rajah & Tann, who had the highest number of employees using the Corporate Tier Travel Smart Rewards – a scheme that allows commuters to earn points based on how much they travel on the MRT system.