With over 3 million commuters relying on the Mass Rapid Transit, or MRT system in Singapore daily, it can get really crowded and claustrophobic riding the public subway. Thankfully, there have been improvements made to the system in recent years to accommodate the high volume of traffic and promote smooth and fare-worthy travel for everyone. Here are several things you probably did not know about Singapore’s MRT System.
Not only does Singapore reclaim land to expand its terrestrial area, the country also digs downwards, up to 43 metres below ground level, to build the Downtown Line. This extensive route includes the deepest station in Singapore, Bencoolen, which serves as a convenient stop for many academic institutions nearby, including the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and Singapore Management University. It is also a stone’s throw away from Dhoby Ghaut and Bras Basah stations.
Commuters frequenting the Downtown Line would have noticed the presence of the Passenger Load Information System on the timing screens mounted around the stations. The system provides information on how packed a train is at different carriages. For instance, green indicates that the carriage is not crowded with ample seating space, yellow means only standing space is available, and probability of getting seats is low, while red refers to limited standing space. Powered by load sensors installed in the train, this system cost SGD $1.5 million and took around eight months to develop! It will be finetuned before further decisions to launch on other MRT lines.
The station was not named after that house elf in Harry Potter, but rather Indian dhobis who formed a community in Singapore when they moved to the country with the British and other Indian soldiers during the 19th century. The dhobis are servicemen or washermen who made a living by doing the laundry for the soldiers and their families. Dhoby Ghaut MRT was named so, as it was the site of a freshwater stream where the first dhobi settlement formed. Even though the community no longer exists, their name and services will be remembered.
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