SINGAPORE: The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Land Transport Master Plan 2040 advisory panel, Acting Minister for Transport Vivian Balakrishnan announced during the Committee of Supply (COS) debate on Thursday (Mar 7).
In February, the panel submitted nine recommendations for an inclusive, well-connected and fast transport system.
The recommendations fall under three key areas namely 20-minute towns and a 45-minute city, transport for all, as well as healthy lives, safer journeys.
The panel recommended that the Government work towards reducing all journeys to the nearest neighbourhood centre to under 20 minutes. Most peak-period journeys should also be completed under 45 minutes.
To make public transport more inclusive, the panel recommended that the Government work towards fostering a gracious and caring commuting culture, and making more parts of the commuting journey barrier-free.
The panel also recommended that the Government dedicate more space to public transport, community uses and active mobility such as walking and cycling.
READ: Transport Masterplan 2040: 9 recommendations for faster, safer, more inclusive transport system
Commenting on the recommendations, Dr Balakrishnan said that the panel appreciated that a transport system does not just convey people to places.
“It brings people together and forms a significant part of our daily lived experience. The panel has therefore recommended enhancing the travel experience through greater connectivity and better service for everyone,” he said.
He also noted that the panel understood that there is a limit to infrastructure building in Singapore, and lauded them for proposing a “bold new vision of healthy and safe 20-minute towns and a 45-minute city travel for all by 2040”.
HUME STATION TO OPEN ON DTL2
In his speech later on Thursday, Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary said that to achieve the goal of a 45-minute city, rail “must continue to be the backbone of Singapore’s public transport network”.
To this end, he announced plans to open the Hume station, on Downtown Line 2 (DTL2) by 2025.
He explained that Hume was originally built as a shell station on DTL2 as the pace of developments and ridership growth in the area did not warrant the opening of the station at the same time as the other DTL2 stations.
However, plans such as the redevelopment of the Rail Corridor and the transformation of the nearby Bukit Timah Fire Station into a Gateway Node for the surrounding nature and heritage attractions, justified the opening of Hume as “there will be sufficient ridership”, said Dr Puthucheary.
“Likewise, further addition of new bus services in Bukit Gombak will depend on the pace of developments and ridership growth in the area,” he added.
Dr Puthucheary highlighted that the Government is also studying other rail projects beyond 2030 that will bring Singapore closer to its “45-minute city” goal, and that these will be announced “in a few months”.
To achieve the goal of 20-minute towns, Dr Puthucheary said the Government will continue to improve connectivity within the towns by enhancing infrastructure to facilitate active mobility options for shorter, intra-town commutes.
He added that authorities are also conducting trials of on-demand public buses, to study the extent to which they can improve first and last mile connectivity to allow even more Singaporeans to benefit, regardless of their proximity to an MRT station.
The services allow commuters to request pick-ups and drop-offs at any bus stop within defined areas using mobile applications.
The trial started last December, and it allowed commuters in the Joo Koon and Marina-Downtown areas to request the on-demand services at stipulated periods.
“Such dynamically routed bus services have the potential to reduce travelling and waiting times for intra-town journeys and allow commuters to enjoy more seamless commutes,” said Dr Puthucheary.