- POSTED: 07 Oct 2013 10:39
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The first stage of the Downtown Line rail network will open on December 22 this year. Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said the first stage will see six stations open for service linking three other lines.
SINGAPORE: The first stage of the Downtown Line rail network will open on December 22 this year.
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew made the announcement at the opening of the Singapore International Transport Congress and Exhibition on Monday morning.
During the congress, Mr Lui also announced a new Land Transport Master Plan 2013 that maps out initiatives to take Singapore's land transport forward for the next 10 to 15 years.
It refreshes the previous plan which was rolled out in 2008.
Among the key elements of the plan is the opening of six stations of the Downtown Line.
Mr Lui said the first stage will see six stations open for service, linking with three other MRT lines -- the Circle Line, North East Line and East-West Line.
The six stations are Bugis, Promenade, Bayfront, Downtown, Telok Ayer and Chinatown.
This will improve the rail network density and connectivity in the city area.
When fully opened in 2017, the 42-kilometre Downtown Line will be the longest fully underground driverless train system in Singapore.
It will also improve connectivity for residents from the east and west to the city and also help bring some relief to some of the crowded stretches of the existing rail network.
With the fifth major rail line in place, Mr Lui hopes more people will consider switching to public transport over the next few years with more enhancements due to be carried out.
Mr Lui said: "We will also improve "first and last mile" by putting in more resources. The feeder bus network is being expanded to reduce crowding and waiting times. We will expand the intra-town cycling networks.
"For commuters who walk to the train station or bus interchange, we will build more sheltered walkways to protect them from the elements. To make bus-rail transfers more convenient for everyone, we will build more integrated transport hubs."
Based on the latest Household Interview Travel Survey, more people have opted for public transport instead of private vehicles for their daily commute over the past four years. Peak hour trips have also increased to 63 per cent last year, as compared to 59 per cent in 2008.
The travel survey also revealed that there has been a 13 per cent increase in daily journeys.
In 2012, there were 12.5 million daily journeys as compared with 11 million journeys in 2008.
A total of 10,000 households participated in the survey.
Mr Lui said the travel survey also showed that more higher-income commuters appear to be choosing public transport.
"Going forward, we must do more to strengthen this modal shift from private to public transport. It is our goal to increase this to 70 per cent by the end of this decade," said Mr Lui.
There is also good progress in building cycling path networks in public housing towns and the target is for every single town to eventually have such a network.
More details of the cycling plan will be shared later this year.