Why experienced local operator is preferred for TEL

Media Replies 21 Nov 2016

We refer to Mr Gabriel Cheng’s letter “Familiarity with rail operations doesn't mean ability to cope” (The Straits Times, 9 November).

Our local rail operators have been working closely with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to improve rail reliability. The distance travelled by trains within the MRT network before a delay of more than 5 minutes has improved considerably, achieving a three-fold jump from 58,000 train-km in 2011 to 158,000 train-km in 1H2016. LTA will continue to work with the operators to further improve rail reliability.

The Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) is our most complex rail project to date. It will open in five stages over a number of years, and will be developed in tandem with multiple other projects. This is why we have adopted an approach different from the public bus industry.  Given these complexities in the ramp-up phase of the TEL, it is preferable that we have an operator who is experienced in local rail operations. We do not preclude the possibility of opening it up to foreign operators in the future, when the line has stabilised.

Ong Hui Guan
Deputy Group Director, Policy and Planning
Land Transport Authority

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