Sunday, April 15, 2012

Expect temporary closures of MRT lines for upgrading works: Lui

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans can expect more temporary closures of segments of the rail network on the North-South and East-West lines in the future.

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said the closures are needed for major works, such as the upgrading of train signalling systems and replacement of the network's older parts.

The authorities would have a better idea of when the shut-downs will take place, and for how long, by the year's end, Mr Lui added.

But moving ahead, commuters will have to get used to temporary closures of some MRT stations for upgrading works.

"If we were to do the upgrading (works) using only the hours available to us now, between the revenue service periods (when the trains are not operating), I think every night you may have at most three-and-a-half or so hours ... (that) leaves very, very little time for major upgrading works," Mr Lui said.

Planned closures of train stations for works to be carried out have been done before. In 2010, stations in western Singapore were shut to allow modification works at the Jurong East station to be carried out. This was done over two weekends.

Mr Lui assured commuters that they will be told well in advance about the planned closures, so that they can make alternative travel arrangements.

There will also be bus-bridging services along the affected MRT lines during the closures.

Mr Lui was speaking to residents from the Cheng San-Seletar ward during his visit to the area on Sunday.

At the dialogue with residents, Mr Lui also addressed concerns on the S$1.1 billion government funding to buy buses for SBS Transit and SMRT.

"If you want this enhanced standard but you don't want the government to put in the money, we think that bus fares on average will have to go up by 15 cents and that's quite a lot. Essentially, when we came up with this scheme, the way we were thinking about it is that this is not a subsidy to the operator. It is actually a subsidy to the commuter," said Mr Lui.

On the recent move to raise the age limit for taxi drivers from 73 to 75, Mr Lui said there are no plans to extend it to bus drivers.

That's because they face a demanding schedule which has to be looked at carefully before any changes are made.

Speaking on the Committee of Inquiry looking into the major train disruptions on the North-South Line in December 2011, Mr Lui said he hopes there's a clear conclusion on what caused the breakdowns and also to take lessons from findings in order to improve how such incidents are managed.

- CNA/wm/fa

View the original article here

Source Form Channel News Asia

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