$60 billion to expand and renew rail network in next decade
More than $60 billion will be invested to expand and renew the rail network over the next 10 years, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.
During the Committee of Supply debate for the transport ministry, Mr Khaw noted the sum will fund upcoming projects such as the completion of the Thomson-East Coast Line by 2024, the building of the Jurong Region Line by 2028 and the first phase of the Cross Island Line by 2029.
Three existing lines – namely the Downtown, North East and Circle Lines – will also be extended by 2025.
As for renewal projects, Mr Khaw noted that the renewal of the oldest North-South and East-West lines will be completed by around 2023.
A Transport Ministry spokesman said based on current projections, more than 70 per cent of the amount is expected to go towards building new rail lines and stations, while the remaining sum will be for works such as renewals and upgrading.
“The hard lesson learnt from the problems earlier faced by SMRT is that we must invest in good operations and maintenance,” Mr Khaw said.
All new public buses will be electric or hybrid
The Government will buy either electric or hybrid buses from now on, in line with its goal to have its fleet of public buses run on cleaner energy by 2040, Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary announced.
Dr Janil said that Singapore has deployed 50 diesel-electric buses on the roads since March last year and will deploy 60 fully-electric buses progressively this year.
He also encouraged taxi operators to switch to electric cabs.
Beyond buses and taxis, Singapore plans to phase out all vehicles which run solely on combustion engines by 2040, said Dr Janil, noting that there are around 900,000 combustion engine vehicles on the road today.
“This will require an extensive transformation of the fleet, significant changes in commuting and consumer behaviour and the development of the necessary supporting infrastructure,” he added.
On charging infrastructure, the Government will work with the private sector to roll out more electric vehicle (EV) charging points, notably in public carparks. By 2030, there will be 28,000 charging points, up from 1,600 now.
Cycling path network to almost double by 2023
The cycling path network will be almost doubled to 800km by 2023 – two years ahead of schedule, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min.
All Housing Board towns will have cycling paths by 2023.
The Government has previously announced that there would be 750km of cycling paths by 2025. The network will grow further to 1,000km by 2026, which will see eight in 10 HDB residents living about 250m away from the nearest cycling path, he said.
This expansion is part of the Government’s $1 billion Islandwide Cycling Network Programme.
The move to expedite the expansion of the cycling network was prompted by concerns from e-scooter users about safety, after they were banned from the 5,500km of footpaths last November.
The final goal will still be to triple the current network from 440km to 1,320km by 2030, said Dr Lam, but with more of these projects to be completed earlier.
More initiatives to create inclusive public transport system
1: Free booster seats in all SMRT taxis
Starting on Mar 5, SMRT will progressively roll out folding booster seats to its 2,800-taxi fleet in a six-month trial to improve the safety of young children below 1.35m in height.
2: Priority cabins on the North East Line (NEL)
Starting from the end of this year, NEL will launch a year-long trial in which the two centre cabins on each six-carriage NEL train will be designated as priority cabins for commuters like seniors, expectant mothers, wheelchair users, people with disabilities and parents with young children.
3: Mobility assistance app on trial
A trial for an app which assists wheelchair users and visually impaired commuters in taking buses will run for another three years.
The Mavis app – Mobility Assistance for the Visually Impaired and Special Users – lets users alert bus captains that commuters with special needs will be boarding or alighting and allows visually impaired passengers to activate audio announcements at their boarding bus stop to guide them to their arriving bus.
The trial, which has been running since January last year, will be expanded to all buses on services 139 and 141, which serve the Enabling Village in Bukit Merah and the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped in Toa Payoh respectively.
4: Caring SG Commuters Committee formed
The Committee will be formed to explore ways to encourage civic-mindedness among commuters.
Changi Airport Terminal 5, new MRT stations could be delayed
Major transport infrastructure projects such as Changi Airport Terminal 5 and new MRT stations could be delayed if the coronavirus outbreak drags on, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said.
Mr Khaw added that the delay to project timelines is still manageable for now but if the outbreak drags on, it could “disrupt the supply of construction equipment and materials”.
“This could impact the timeline for Terminal 5, Tuas Port, new MRT stations, and the next-generation ERP system,” he said.
Photo from Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s Facebook