Boon Lay Extension to Open in February 2009

News Releases 30 Oct 2008 Boon Lay Extension (BLE)

Revised Operating Performance Standards To Improve Train Services

Opening of Boon Lay Extension

1. Minister for Transport and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Raymond Lim, announced today that the Boon Lay Extension (BLE) will begin service on 28 February 2009.

2. The BLE is a 3.8km fully elevated extension of the existing East West Line and consists of two stations - Pioneer Station at Jurong West Street 63 and Joo Koon Station at Joo Koon Circle. The BLE will benefit residents in Jurong West Town and those working in the Jurong Industrial Estate by enhancing connectivity between these areas and other parts of Singapore.

3. The BLE forms part of the rail expansion plans under the Land Transport Master Plan (LTMP). When operation commences next February, the BLE will reduce travel time by as much as 15 minutes and offer direct access to the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system instead of requiring bus transfers at Boon Lay Station. (Please refer to the separate BLE Factsheet for more details.)

Revision of MRT Operating Performance Standards

4. LTA has tightened the train passenger load indicator under the MRT Operating Performance Standards (OPS) from 1,700 to 1,600 passengers per train. This revised standard places a more stringent limit on the maximum number of passengers each train can carry. The OPS are minimum performance standards for operators, and they have in practice outperformed these standards.

5. In addition, a new indicator, train headway, has been imposed. This requires operators to ensure that the intervals between trains during the morning and evening peak periods as well as during lunchtime do not exceed prescribed standards. For instance, the operator will have to ensure that commuters at Yishun station (south bound) will have no more than a 2- to 3-minute wait during the morning peak-of-peak period.

6. Also, the availability targets of key equipment including lifts, escalators, automatic fare gates, general ticketing machines and passenger service machines will be raised to ensure that any downtime will be minimised. This will reduce the inconvenience that any breakdown will cause to commuters.

7. The revised OPS indicators will take effect today.

Managing Crowding on Trains

8. In recent months, public transport ridership has reached record highs. The average train passenger load at Jurong East and Bukit Batok stations has reached 1,400 passengers during the morning peak-of-peak period. Although this remains below the maximum loading allowed under the revised OPS, the LTA and the public transport operators are together rolling out various initiatives to manage crowding. With these initiatives, commuters will enjoy a more comfortable ride on less crowded trains, with a reduction in waiting times during peak hours. Please refer to the Annex for a summary of these initiatives.

Managing Train Overcrowding - A Part for Everyone

9. LTA's Chief Executive, Mr Yam Ah Mee, said, "Managing the issue of crowding on trains calls for everyone - the Government, the operators and commuters - to play a part. While the Government and operators make improvements to the system in the immediate and medium term, commuters can also help through simple gestures. For example, they can move to the centre of trains or the ends of the platform to reduce localised crowding. In addition, we have observed that crowding levels start to decline after the peak-of-peak period. For those commuters who are able to shift their morning commutes to before 7.45am or after 8.30am to avoid the most crowded periods, we encourage them to do so. With each of us playing our part, train journeys can be more pleasant."

1 The "morning peak-of-peak" period is estimated to be from 7.45am to 8.30am and may vary from station to station. The "morning peak" is the overall period from 7.30am to 9.30am.

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