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Better public infrastructure for a “liveable city”, Government promises

Key focus areas in the second half of the Government’s term will include increasing public transport capacity and upgrading HDB flats.

SINGAPORE: Quality of life will be key areas of focus for policymakers in the second half of the Government’s term, in ways such as increasing public transport capacity, upgrading HDB flats and building more parks, according to a statement issued on Wednesday (May 21).

“We will build a liveable city and an endearing home for all Singaporeans,” the Government said in an addenda statement to President Tony Tan Keng Yam’s address at the reopening of Parliament last Friday.

One key priority for the Ministry of National Development is to step up the Home Improvement Programme to cover another one-third of flats in Singapore - about 100,000 in total - within the next three years.

The ministry will also implement initiatives such as encouraging couples to live near their parents, and making HDB homes and estates elder-friendly, the statement said.

Singaporeans can also expect more recreational facilities, with an expansion of the park connector network and the Round-Island Route, a 150km continuous recreational corridor connecting Singaporeans to parks and places of interest across the island.

The ultimate aim is for “nearly all Singaporeans to live within 400 metres of a park; to be within a 10-minute walk of a sports and recreational facility; and to have convenient access to an island-wide network of arts and culture nodes and heritage trails”, the statement said.

The Government also pledged in the statement to increase the capacity of the public transport system. The Ministry of Transport will undertake a restructuring of the public bus industry, with a new contracting model under which the Government will own all key assets such as bus depots and buses. (Full story here: http://cna.asia/TtlXsN

The ministry also said it will expand, upgrade and optimise the rail system to ease crowding. There will be major upgrades to tracks and trains, as well as to signalling systems for the oldest lines to run more trains at higher frequencies, and an additional 83 trains to reduce waiting time and crowding.

Incentives to encourage commuters to travel during off-peak periods will also be enhanced, according to the statement.

The ministry will also look into alleviating the taxi shortage by ensuring that more taxis are on the roads, and facilitate better matching of taxi demand and supply.

Amid the infrastructure build-up, the Government will take steps to ensure Singapore remains green. The transport ministry will undertake a trial use of electric vehicles on a larger scale, and study a possible adoption of diesel hybrid public buses.

“Protecting our environment is a collective responsibility,” the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources said. To that end, it plans to step up efforts to work with companies to improve their resource efficiency and adopt best-in-class practices.

The ministry said it will also progressively tighten vehicle and industrial emission and fuel quality standards to ensure that Singaporeans can enjoy clean, fresh air.

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