MRT network length to double by 2020; two new lines to be built

In a massive new investment, the government will pump in another S$20 billion on new rail lines and extensions islandwide, Transport Minister Raymond Lim announced Friday.

This is over and above the S$20 billion the government has already committed for the on-going Boon Lay extension, the Circle Line and the Downtown Line.

Mr Lim said the new and extended lines will go to places as diverse as Marine Parade and even Tuas.

The rail update is the second in a series of three major policy announcements in a sweeping review of the land transport network. A bus system overhaul was announced last week.

When the plans come to fruition in 2020, there will be one MRT station within five minutes’ walk in the city, in a network that will become denser than Tokyo’s.

Outside the city, more areas will be served by high-speed MRT.

There are currently 138 kilometres of rail lines. By 2020, authorities hope to double the network length and expect it to carry three times as many journeys, from today’s 1.4 million a day to 4.6 million in 2020.

Two new lines will be built.

The Thomson Line, to be ready by 2018, will run from Marina Bay through the Central Business District, all the way up to Ang Mo Kio and Woodlands. It will connect to another new Line, the Eastern Region Line, at Marina Bay.

The Eastern Region Line, to be ready by 2020, will serve areas such as Siglap and Marine Parade.

Existing lines will also be extended.

The North-South Line will be extended one kilometre south to serve the Marina Bay area developments while the East-West Line will be extended another 14 kilometres west into Tuas.

To avoid long waiting time and crowded trains, there will be 93 additional train trips during the morning and evening peaks.

The authorities will work with SMRT to increase the number of trains and to improve the infrastructure over the next four years to reduce waiting time from the current 2.5-4 minutes to two minutes at busy stations during peak periods.

“When all this is done, what will we have? We hope we would have transformed the public transport system… And by doing so, Singaporeans will indeed consider the public transport system as their other car,” said the transport minister.

Completion dates of the various lines are also being fast-forwarded. Part of the Circle Line which was due to open from 2010 onwards, will now open in mid-2009. Completion of the Downtown Line will also be brought forward by two years to 2016.

Mr Lim made the announcement when he visited Kim Chuan Depot on Friday morning.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 25 Jan 2008

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