We refer to Mr Henry Lim’s letter, "Consider alternatives to new rail lines” (The Straits Times, 8 September 2012). When planning new rail lines and stations, LTA works closely with other land use agencies to determine the most optimal alignment. Stations are strategically located to improve the RTS network coverage and provide greater convenience for commuters.
The alignments of the Thomson Line (TSL) and Downtown Line 3 (DTL3) are planned strategically to run through major housing estates as well as areas where there is no direct MRT link such as Sin Ming, Thomson and Kim Seng for TSL and Geylang Bahru, Bedok Reservoir and Kaki Bukit for DTL3. The morning peak travel demand along the north-south corridor is also expected to increase significantly. The TSL will serve the additional public transport demand along this corridor.
Both the LRT and buses serve their purposes in providing commuters a feeder service to and from major transport nodes such as MRT stations. The LRT system however will incur higher infrastructure cost as compared to buses, thus a careful balance have to be struck. Whether it is buses, LRT or a combination of both, LTA will select the most suitable local transport system, taking into the consideration the land use and ridership in the area. Currently, LTA is working to ramp up bus services to further complement the rail network.
Given Singapore’s land scarcity, the capacity of a rail system is carefully considered. A six-car system would require more land take, due to larger station and depot footprints. It is therefore important to strike a balance between taking up land to provide for larger stations and to carefully consider a model that will meet the demands of future growth. In planning the TSL, LTA has considered factors such as the role the Line plays, commuter travel patterns taking into account the distribution of residential units and employment sectors across Singapore, and also the increased mode shift towards public transport expected as a result of the various Land Transport Masterplan initiatives. Taking all this into account, including the need to provide for a reasonable buffer capacity, the TSL has been planned as an automatic 4-car train system.
We thank Mr Lim for the opportunity to clarify.
Director, Media Relations & Public Education
Land Transport Authority