Singapore’s planned expansion of rail network to be delayed: Khaw
Transport Minister says rail network will still be expanded to 360km by early 2030s
Singapore's plans to expand its rail network by more than 50 per cent by 2030 will be delayed as a result of the impact of Covid-19.
But the Government still aims to hit this target by the early 2030s, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said yesterday.
"There will be some delays because of Covid-induced impact on the availability of construction workers," he said. "But the intent to significantly expand our MRT network remains unchanged."
Singapore's current rail network spans about 230km.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) had said that it wanted to expand the rail network to about 360km by 2030, which would connect eight in 10 households to a train station within 10 minutes.
Rail lines that were due to be completed in the next decade include the remaining phases of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), Jurong Region Line and the first part of the Cross Island Line.
Stage two of the TEL was set to be completed later this year. The line will link up Woodlands to Caldecott via Mayflower.
The Circle Line, Downtown Line and North East Line were also due to get additional stations in the next decade.
Mr Khaw said yesterday that measures to combat Covid-19 has resulted in a drop in usage of public transport, but demand will return with time.
Public transport ridership is now at about 40 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels, after movement restrictions were eased last Friday.
Mr Khaw was speaking at an event at the Bishan Depot to start the decommissioning of Singapore's very first MRT trains.
Mr Khaw said that, other than expanding the rail network, ensuring rail reliability is another important task. "This ethos is now deeply embedded in the corporate culture of our operators," he said, adding that rail operators SMRT and SBS Transit are now among the most reliable in the world.
The entire MRT network consistently exceeds a mean kilometre between failures (MKBF) of one million train-km, noted Mr Khaw.
MKBF, a benchmark measurement of rail reliability, refers to the mean distance between train faults causing a delay of more than five minutes.
Mr Khaw also said discussions with Malaysia about the construction of a cross-border Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link are still ongoing ahead of a final deadline of July 31.
The rail line project - which would connect Woodlands North station on Singapore's Thomson-East Coast MRT line to Bukit Chagar in Johor Baru - has been suspended since April last year.
He added that he hopes a successful outcome can be achieved soon.
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