TOC took a cab ride on Monday, the second day that the new Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) was in operation. We drove around the MCE for 30 mins from both sides (to and back from city) and had a look at the bottlenecks of the highway.
Generally the expressway is pretty good with wide lanes and clear traffic signs. But as most drivers were still unfamiliar with the expressway, many were confused over which exit to use and had to either go another big round or to try to change lanes to their intended exit.
LTA said today it is putting up more signs because motorists complained that there were inadequate signs to direct them. With some missing road connections that used to be there and given that the GPS maps are not updated with the new highway, it is no surprise that most drivers were confused.
As for the massive traffic jam at the MCE observed yesterday, there was a bottleneck near One Raffles Quay that seems quite awfully serious. Most thought the four-lane driveway was only a two-way driveway. And there were no directional signs stating which lane goes where. Therefore drivers had to squeeze their way through if they happen to find themselves at the wrong side of the road.
Also in regards to the S$70 taxi fare which one commuter highlighted online, it is likely that the taxi driver did not know where to drop off his passenger given that certain roads have changed. [It was reported that the cost of the taxi fare was also because the taxi driver lost his way 3 times.]
The taxi driver of our cab said that it is likely the confusion faced by drivers yesterday is just temporary as people are just getting used to the new traffic conditions. He too expressed his confusion when he first tried driving on the MCE, even though he had taken some time to familiarize himself with the new highway on Sunday, the first day of operation.
In his opinion, the MCE does speed up the journey for most people in general, especially if someone were to travel from the east to the west. About ten minutes or more can be saved from the total travelling time. People living in the east such as Tampines, Punggol and etc will find it faster to reach the city but residents from places such as Woodlands, Ang Mo Kio might find it faster to travel via CTE to reach the city.
However, others have also raised concerns about some of the potential long-term problems of the new highway. (See here: http://www.razor.tv/video/673389/two-problem-areas-along-MCE)
Watch here for the full trip around MCE!