Opinion: Building A Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) System In Singapore (1)
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In this forum, the panellists discuss the pros and cons of having an all-bus system in Singapore as opposed to a bus-rail system that involves building a Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). In a rail-cum-bus system, feeder buses can transport people to MRT stations. Commuters can then travel to the central area by rail. An all-bus system will result in congestion during peak hours and large bus depots will have to be constructed. There will also be more air and noise pollution in an all-bus system as compared to a bus-rail system. An important consideration is cost. An all-bus system will cost much less than a bus-rail system. Building an underground MRT is very costly and estimates in December 1979 suggest that at least $ 4 billion will be spent on it. The panellists agree that another formal cost-benefit evaluation and risk assessment should be done before a final decision is made on the issue. Although it is an accepted fact that the capital costs for an all-bus system will be lower than the cost of an underground MRT, an important factor to take into account is whether Singapore will get a better product by paying more for the MRT or get the same kind of service by paying less for an all-bus system.