SINGAPORE – Travelling from their home in Eunos to the city Church of Sts. Peter and Paul used to be a half-hour trip for Robert and Mabel Tan. The couple, both in their 70s, would take the train first to City Hall MRT station, and then walked for 15 minutes, rain or shine, to the church at Queen Street.
Since Bras Basah MRT station opened on Apr 17, the Tans have welcomed its convenience and made good use of it by utilising the Circle Line to get to their destination.
This involves changing trains at Paya Lebar MRT station, which serves as an interchange between the East-West line and the Circle Line.
One of Bras Basah MRT station’s five entrances is located at Queen Street beside the NTUC Income Centre, 150 metres from the church. St. Joseph’s Church is about 250 metres from the station entrance, while the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd is just across the road from the exit.
Other churchgoers, such as Toa Payoh resident Gabriel Low, also finds the new station “more convenient” to get to Sunday Mass at Sts. Peter and Paul.
But others, such as Simon Goh, still prefers walking from City Hall MRT station as it is “much easier and faster”.
Sts. Peter and Paul parish priest Father Anselm Phang, OCD told CatholicNews that although he welcomes the opening of Bras Basah MRT station, he will wait a while before openly encouraging parishioners to use public transport. This is because “people have their reasons for driving”, but he said that the Circle Line’s proximity to the church will gradually increase the number of parishioners using it.
At present, Father Anselm has not observed an increase in Mass attendance, but there are fewer parked cars within church premises, possibly either due to the opening of Bras Basah MRT station, or the church’s car park charges.
By Darren Boon