1. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT are pleased to announce that the Boon Lay Extension (BLE), consisting of the two new stations at Pioneer and Joo Koon, will commence operation from tomorrow, 28 February 2009 at 5.28 am.
2. The 3.8km BLE links the residential and industrial areas of Pioneer and Joo Koon to the existing East-West Line from Boon Lay Station, making it possible for more commuters to have direct access to the MRT system. With the opening of the BLE, commuters living and working in the Pioneer and Joo Koon areas will enjoy savings in travel time of as much as 15 minutes.
3. Costing S$436 million, construction of the BLE started in August 2005. With the opening of the BLE, the current East-West Line will be extended to 49.2km and 31 stations.
4. The Minister for Transport and the Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Raymond Lim was guest-of-honour at the opening ceremony of the BLE. Grassroots leaders, residents and representatives of businesses located along the BLE alignment were also present.
5. "This is indeed a joyous occasion as it signifies that the wait is finally over for those living and working in the Joo Koon and Pioneer areas. Many will now enjoy the convenience of having direct MRT access to homes or offices without having to transfer to a feeder bus at the Boon Lay interchange. The challenges of the BLE construction require not only close and stringent management of the project to ensure it is within schedule and budget, but also that the construction must be carried out safely. I am proud that the project team had taken great care to ensure minimal environmental impact and inconvenience to the community. LTA would like to express our sincerest appreciation to the Advisers, grassroots and community for their support and understanding during the construction period," said Mr Yam Ah Mee, LTA's Chief Executive.
6. SMRT Corporation President and CEO Ms Saw Phaik Hwa said, "SMRT is happy to serve commuters living and working around Pioneer and Joo Koon MRT stations. Our staff have been preparing for revenue service in the past few months to ensure that we are ready to provide a safe, reliable and pleasant travel experience to commuters. We believe residents and workers will enjoy greater convenience of direct travel with the opening of these two new stations."
7. For those who work in the vicinity, this extension will offer an added travel option and convenience. Mr Joel Khoa, who works at the Singapore Discovery Centre said: "I stay in Yishun and have to leave my house at 7am to take the MRT to Jurong East Station to transfer to my company shuttle bus. I would like to try out the new route of coming to work. If it is faster to get to work from Joo Koon Station, I may change my travelling pattern."
BLE Photography Competition
8. To commemorate the completion of BLE, LTA organised a photography competition from 9 January to 2 February 2009.
9. The competition attracted some 102 entries from local residents aged 14 to 40 years old. The theme "Closer to Home" resulted in many entries depicting the integration of transport nodes, which is how the public see their transport network. The winning entries were selected by an independent panel of judges. The first, second and third prize winners won cash prizes of $1000, $500 and $300 respectively. Merit award winners won $100 each.
10. The Minister for Transport and the Second Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Raymond Lim presented the prizes to the 10 winners. The winning entries will be displayed as posters at the two BLE stations for three months.