$60 billion to expand, renew train networks
The amount will help to grow rail network from 230km today to 360km by 2030
The Government will be investing more than $60 billion over the next decade to ensure the reliability of our trains and expand and renew the networks.
Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan, announced this at the parliamentary debate on the Ministry of Transport's 2020 budget allocation.
He said: "By 2030, around 80 per cent of Singaporeans will live within walking distance of a train station."
Mr Khaw said the $60 billion will go towards the completion of the Thomson-East Coast Line, Jurong Region Line, Phase 1 of the Cross Island Line (CRL), and extensions for the Downtown Line, North East Line (NEL) and Circle Line (CCL).
It also includes cash flow for the western leg of the CRL, for which part of the advanced engineering studies have already commenced.
It added that based on current projections, more than 70 per cent of cash flow is expected to go towards the building of new rail lines and stations. The rest of the money will be for renewal and upgrading works.
Mr Khaw said: "The hard lesson learnt by the problems earlier faced by SMRT is that we must invest in good operations and maintenance."
He added that Singapore's rail network will grow from 230km today to about 360km by 2030.
MOT also said commuting via public transport for those with special needs will improve.
The MOT's Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Baey Yam Keng, said by the end of 2020, the Land Transport Authority will launch priority cabins on the NEL.
Under this initiative, the two centre cabins on each NEL train will be designated as priority cabins for vulnerable commuters such as seniors, expectant mothers, wheelchair users, people with disabilities and parents with young children.
These cabins will be located near platform lifts at most stations and feature signage encouraging commuters to allow vulnerable users to board and alight first, give up their seats to those who need them more and keep wheelchair spaces free. Customer service officers will be there to guide commuters.
Mr Abhimanyau Pal, chief executive officer, SPD, a local charity supporting people with disabilities, said: "Wheelchair users typically require more space, that makes it challenging for commuters in wheelchairs to get on or off during peak hours.
"Many would have to make adjustments to their travel times and avoid peak hours, whether for medical appointments, work or school."
Mr Seng Ngiap, 54, who uses a wheelchair, told The New Paper he has to leave home on the first train at 5.55am despite needing to get to work only at 8am, because he has to avoid rush hour. He said: "I am used to it now, there is no choice."
With the new priority cabin, Mr Seng said that wheelchair users can have more peace of mind when taking the train, with some assurance they will have space.
The MOT also said it will be accelerating the building of cycling path networks and active mobility infrastructure. This is estimated to cost upwards of $1 billion.