The Singapore Marina Bay area will remain accessible and open to the public during the Formula One race from Sept 23 to 29. This was a message the authorities took pains to stress at a media briefing on Thursday to give details of transport arrangements during the Singapore night race next month.
Besides shortening the road closure period and stepping up public transport services, there will be a plethora of transport links and access options to the area. The road closure days will be shortened from 12 days to seven days, with roads leading to the city open during morning peak hours from 5am to 9am to facilitate travel for worker in the Bay area.
At the same time, public transport will be beefed up, with MRT operating hours extended till 1.15am on the three race nights, and up to 650 trains will be added to cut waiting time for trains to just two to three minutes. The opening hours of LRT will also be extended to coincide with the last train.
The free bridging bus trips between City Hall MRT station and Bugis MRT station to the Suntec and Marina Bay area will also be increased by 25 per cent. It will operate from Sept 23 to 28 with a shorter bus frequency of 10 to 12 minutes.
Taxis, too, are allowed, for the first time, to use the restricted road network, except during peak hours. But those taking hotel guest pass holders and on call will have access during peak hours.
Land Transport Authority chief executive Yam Ah Mee on Thursday stressed that public transport remains the best option for public and race-goers to get to the Marina Bay area during the road closure and race period. That, he said, should reassure Singaporeans that it will be 'business as usual' in the race circuit.
During last year's inaugural race, the extended road closures and confusion over traffic forced many Singaporeans to stay away from the Marina Bay area, hitting business severely.
Mr. Colin Syn, deputy chairman of race organizer Singapore GP, said: 'We took the road closure feedback very seriously and after extensive evaluation and planning, the new timetable offers considerable improvements over last year.'
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