Good morning and a Happy New Year to everyone.
2010 has been an eventful year with several significant developments in our land transport landscape. To name a few, we opened the section of the Circle Line from Dhoby Ghaut to Bartley, introduced capacity improvements for buses and rail, and implemented Distance Fares. LTA also took over as the central bus network planner. Our work continues this year, and our top priorities remain unchanged – to enhance the reach and attractiveness of public transport so as to encourage greater usage.
Addition of Platform Screen Doors
2 In creating a people-centered public transportation system, the safety of our commuters is key. Today, I am happy to announce that LTA has completed the installation of Half-Height Platform Screen Doors at 11 elevated MRT stations. These include Bedok MRT station and Paya Lebar MRT station, where the platform doors were put into operation this morning. We have now completed installation of the platform doors in about a third of our 36 elevated stations, and we are on track to complete the installation for the East-West Line by the third-quarter of this year, and for the North-South Line by 2012.
Circle Line to Open Fully In 4th Quarter 2011, 16 more trains to be added by 2015
3 Looking ahead, we will be delivering more major improvements to the rail system. First, the Jurong East Modification Project (JEMP) will be completed in May 2011. This will bring about an increase in capacity to the North-South and East-West Lines, by about 15%.
4 Commuters can also look forward to the opening of the Circle Line from Marymount to HarbourFront in the fourth quarter of this year. The Circle Line extension from Promenade to Marina Bay Station will also be ready in 2012.
5 To meet the projected increase in ridership for the Circle Line, LTA will also be purchasing some 16 additional Circle Line trains which are scheduled to arrive around 2015. This will increase the total fleet of Circle Line trains by about 40%.
6 With more of the rail network being put into operation, and the purchase of new trains, commuters will be able to enjoy better rail connectivity, as well as shorter waiting times, and more comfortable rides.
7.5 km extension of East-West Line to Tuas West, with 4 more stations by 2016
7 The pipeline of new rail projects also continues. We have already started work in constructing the different stages of the Downtown Line and the North-South Line Extension.
8 I am pleased to announce that we have now also completed the studies on the extension of the East-West Line from Joo Koon into Tuas West. The Tuas West Extension will be 7.5km long. When completed, it will improve accessibility and connectivity for people who work in the Jurong and Tuas industrial areas. The Tuas West Extension will help commuters save more than half their current travelling time when they commute to these areas. For instance, it takes about 35 minutes to travel by bus from Boon Lay Bus Interchange to Tuas West today. This will take only 15 minutes via MRT when the line is opened.
9 The LTA will be purchasing an additional 13 trains for the extension to maintain the service levels of the line. Every Tuas West Extension station will also have about 100 bicycle racks installed to cater to those who cycle. In addition, we are also exploring the possibility of adding private bus bays at these stations so that companies located in the area can arrange for drop-off/pick-up services for their staff. These initiatives will bring us closer to our plans of enhancing public transport usage and meeting different needs of commuters.
10 We have also expanded the scope of the Tuas West extension project from the initial studies done when we released the Land Transport Masterplan (LTMP) in 2008. While we had previously planned for the extension to have only three stations, we have now included an additional station, so that more commuters will be directly served by the MRT system. We will also be building a much larger MRT depot at Tuas West because of the recently-announced plans for more trains to be added to the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL) to increase their capacity in conjunction with the re-signalling project. We will also be constructing a road viaduct that is integrated with the rail extension, to reduce road congestion in the surrounding Tuas West area. These additional works will enhance the travelling experience of commuters travelling to Tuas. With the expanded scope of the project, the LTA now expects to complete Tuas West Extension in 2016.
11 We are moving at a rapid pace of development. The rail expansion over the coming decade will almost double our railway length to about 280km, from today’s 159km. We will continue to work hard at improving all aspects of our public transport system so as to realise our vision of a people-centric transport system that gives commuters smooth and reliable transport across the island.
12 In closing, I would like to wish all of you the very best in the new year ahead. Thank you.