Mass Rapid Transit (Singapore)
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|Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)|
|Owner||Land Transport Authority|
|Transit type||Rapid transit|
|Number of lines||4|
|Number of stations||70|
|Daily ridership||1.952 million (2009)|
|Began operation||7 November 1987|
|System length||118.9 km (73.9 mi)|
It is a rapid transit system which links the different places of Singapore together using a network, or different connections of trains. When a person travels from one place to another, he or she boards a train in a train station and then the train moves until the train reaches the place he or she wants to come out, or alight. Sometimes he or she has to change trains.
About 1.952 million passengers use the MRT. The system is 129.9 km long and has 70 stations (1 which is not in operation). The trains run from 5:30 am to 1:00 am every day except for the festive periods, such as Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and Chinese New Year's Eve. A train comes every 2-3 minutes in peak hours, every 7 minutes during off-peak hours and 5-6 minutes for the weekend service. It is operated by the Singapore's SMRT Corporation and SBS Transit.
There are currently 4 lines in the MRT system, where they are connected by special stops called interchanges. The lines are North South Line, East West Line, North East Line and Circle Line. Part of the Circle Line, from Dhoby Ghaut to Marymount, has been opened already. The remaining lines, which includes Downtown Line, Thomson Line and Eastern Region Line are still being planned.
On December 16, 2011 the MRT network suffered what is likely to be the worst breakdown in its 24-year operating history. 'A power rail problem' made North-South Line trains suddenly lost power and ground halt in darkness and without ventilation for up to an hour accompanied only by light from mobile phones.
Network[change | edit source]
|Line||First part opened||Stations||Length
|Terminals||Depot along line|
|North South Line (SMRT Trains)||7 November 1987||25||44||Jurong East||Marina Bay MRT Station|
|East West Line (SMRT Trains)||12 December 1987||29||49.2||Pasir Ris||Joo Koon||Ulu Pandan
|10 January 2001||3||Tanah Merah||Changi Airport|
|North East Line (SBS Transit)||20 June 2003||16 (1 not in operation)||20||HarbourFront||Punggol||Sengkang|
|Circle Line (SMRT Trains)||28 May 2009||16||5.7||Dhoby Ghaut||Marymount||Kim Chuan|
Openings[change | edit source]
- 7 November 1987: Yio Chu Kang - Toa Payoh
- 12 December 1987: Toa Payoh - Outram Park
- 12 March 1988: Outram Park - Clementi
- 5 November 1988: Clementi - Lakeside
- 20 December 1988: Yio Chu Kang - Yishun
- 4 November 1989: Marina Bay - Tanah Merah
- 16 December 1989: Tanah Merah - Pasir Ris
- 10 March 1990: Jurong East - Choa Chu Kang
- 6 July 1990: Lakeside - Boon Lay
- 10 February 1996: Yishun - Choa Chu Kang
- 1999: Bukit Panjang LRT
- 10 January 2001: Tanah Merah - Expo
- 18 October 2001: Dover
- 8 February 2002: Expo - Changi Airport
- 2003: Sengkang LRT
- 20 June 2003: HarbourFront - Punggol
- 2005: Punggol LRT
- 28 February 2009: Boon Lay - Joo Koon
- 28 May 2009: Bartley - Marymount
- 17 April 2010: Bartley - Dhoby Ghaut
Expansion[change | edit source]
The MRT system had been using its two main lines, the North South and East West Lines, for more than ten years until the opening of the North East Line in 2003. While plans for these lines, as well as those being built, were made long before, the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) publication of a white paper entitled "A World Class Land Transport System" in 1996 showed the government's intentions to greatly expand on the existing system. The plans allow for the long-term replacement of the bus network by rail-based transportation as the main way of public transportation. It called for the expansion of the 67 kilometres of track in 1995 to over 160 in 10 to 15 years, and expected further expansion in the longer term. It was anticipated that daily ridership in 2020 would have grown to 4.6 million from the current 1.4 million passengers. By 2020, the density of the rail network will increase by 60 per cent, from 31 to 51 km per million population, comparable to cities like New York and London, and surpassing Hong Kong and Tokyo.
Circle Line[change | edit source]
The 35.7-kilometre Circle Line (CCL) is Singapore's newest rail line. It is being built in five parts of which the section from Bartley to Dhoby Ghaut is operational. The first part opened to the public from Bartley to Marymount on May 28, 2009. When finished, the line will connect all MRT lines, and will allow passengers to bypass the downtown area, so that the City Hall and Raffles Place interchange stations will be less crowded. It will also connect to Marina South via a spur line branching off Promenade Station and ending at Marina Bay Station. The second part opened to the public from Bartley to Dhoby Ghaut on April 17, 2010 while the remainder would have been finished in 2011. Only the Marina Bay Extension will be opened in 2012.
Downtown Line[change | edit source]
The Downtown Line is being built now in three parts. The first part to open will be 3.4 kilometres with five stations connecting Bugis on the East West Line to Chinatown on the North East Line. The second part will connect Bukit Panjang in western Singapore with the first part. The third part will connect Expo in eastern Singapore with the first part. The parts will open in 2013, 2015, and 2016. It will be 40 kilometers long and have 33 stations. Stage 1 & 2 are in the construction phase, while stage 3 is under planning stages.
Thomson Line[change | edit source]
The 27-kilometre Thomson Line is planned to be completed by 2018 and consists of 18 stations. It will connect to the North South Line at Woodlands station, to the Circle Line at Thomson station, to the Downtown Line at Stevens station, to the North South Line at Orchard Road station, to the East West and Northeast lines at Outram Park station, and to the North South and Circle lines at Marina Bay station.
Eastern Region Line[change | edit source]
Extensions to existing lines[change | edit source]
The East West Line Tuas West Extension is a elevated westward extension from Joo Koon Station. The 7.5 kilometre extension includes 4 new stations and a depot located near the Tuas Checkpoint. This extension will be completed in the 2nd quarter of 2015. The easternmost station along the Tuas West Extension (EW30) will have 2 island platforms and 4 tracks as it will serve as an interchange station for the future 6 kilometre Tuas South Extension which will have 2 new stations. The Tuas South Extension will only be completed after the Tuas West Extension.
The North South Line Marina South Extension is a underground southward extension from Marina Bay Station. The 1.6 kilometre extension includes 1 new station located near the upcoming International Cruise Centre at Marina South. This extension will commence passenger service by 2014, a year earlier than originally scheduled.
Facilities at the stations[change | edit source]
Every station has at least 4 ticket machines, restrooms (toilets), a passenger service center, which controls what is happening in the train station and has wired radio with the train operator, payphones (public phones) and access for disabled. Some of them have automated teller machines, kiosks and a bus interchange nearby.
All stations in Singapore are either elevated or underground, and they are not surfaced. Underground stations and trains are air-conditioned. A few of the elevated stations have half-height platform gates which has been installed at Pasir Ris, Yishun and Jurong East stations. Half-height platform gates are also installed at Bukit Gombak, Bukit Batok, Clementi and Lakeside but are not operational.
Rolling Stock[change | edit source]
Three types of the rolling stock are used on the East West and North South Lines, another two types were used on North East and Circle Lines, while the last two types are currently under construction. Except for C751A, C830 and C951, the rest are powered by 750V DC and operate in 6-cars.
There are 66 trainsets which is made up of C151, built in 1986-89 by Kawasaki Heavy Industries and collaborating with three sub-companies, Kinki Sharyo, Nippon Sharyo and Tokyu Car Corp. It is the oldest trains in operation, being refurbished in 2008. 19 more C651s were purchased in 1994 from Siemens AG, followed by 21 more C751B sets, built in 1999-2000 from Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Nippon Sharyo.
25 six-car trainsets, overhead rail of C751A were built from 1999 to 2002 by Alstom, which has the model called Alstom Metropolis, used as North East Line. Another 40 three-car trainsets, third-rail were built from 2005 to 2008, and were used as Circle Line.
Two types are currently under construction. They are C151A that will be operating in addition to C151, C651 and C751B in the East West and North South Lines, and will be built from Kawasaki Heavy Industries, based at Qingdao, China. Another model, C951 will be built by Bombardier Transportation as Movia, and will be based at Changchun, China.
Fares and ticketing[change | edit source]
Stations are divided into two areas, paid and unpaid, which allow the rail operators to collect fares by restricting entry only through the fare gates, also known as access control gates. These gates, connected to a computer network, are capable of reading and updating electronic tickets capable of storing data, and can store information such as the initial and destination stations and the duration for each trip. General Ticketing Machines sell tickets for single trips or allow the customer to purchase additional value for stored-value tickets. Tickets for single trips, coloured in green, are valid only on the day of purchase, and have a time allowance of 30 minutes beyond the estimated travelling time. Tickets that can be used repeatedly until their expiry date require a minimum amount of stored credit.
As the fare system has been integrated by TransitLink, commuters need to pay only one fare and pass through two fare gates (once on entry, once on exit) for an entire journey, even when transferring between lines operated by different companies. Commuters can choose to extend a trip mid-journey, and pay the difference as they exit their destination station.
The ticketing system uses the EZ-Link and NETS FlashPay contactless smart cards based upon the System for e-Payments (SeP) system for public transit built on the Singapore Standard for Contactless ePurse Application (CEPAS) system. This system allows for up to 4 card issuers in the market. The EZ-Link card was introduced on 13 April 2002 as a replacement to the original TransitLink farecard while its competitor the NETS FlashPay card entered the smart card market on 9 October 2009. The adult EZ-link card is at S$15 while the NETS FlashPay card is at S$13.
Safety[change | edit source]
Assurance has been given by both operators and authorities, that numerous measures have been taken in an effort to ensure the safety of passengers, with SBS Transit having to make greater efforts in actively publicising its safety considerations on the driver-less North East Line before and after its opening. Safety campaign posters are highly visible in trains and stations, and the operators frequently broadcast safety announcements to passengers and to commuters waiting for trains. Fire safety standards are consistent with the strict guidelines of the US National Fire Protection Association. Platform screen doors are installed at all underground stations, with half-height platform screen doors currently being built at all aboveground stations, with some at Pasir Ris, Woodlands and Yishun. These doors prevent suicides and unauthorised access to restricted areas, as well as enable climate control in stations. Above-ground stations have open platforms, with a wide yellow line drawn 70 cm from each platform edge requiring passengers to stand at a safe distance from arriving trains (or face a fine). Bylaws deter uncivil, disruptive and dangerous acts, such as smoking, the consumption of food and drink, the frivolous use of safety features, and trespassing on the railway tracks. Penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment are imposed for these offences.
Safety concerns were raised among the public after several accidents on the system during the 1980s and 1990s, but most problems have been rectified. On 5 August 1993, two trains collided at Clementi MRT Station because of an oil spillage on the track, which resulted in 132 injuries. There were calls for platform screen doors to be installed at above-ground stations after several incidents in which passengers were killed by oncoming trains when they fell onto the railway tracks at above-ground stations. The authorities initially rejected the proposal by casting doubts over functionality and concerns about the high installation costs, but made an about-turn when the government announced plans to install half-height automatic platform gates in a speech on 25 January 2008, citing lower costs due to it becoming a more common feature worldwide.
Security[change | edit source]
Security concerns related to crime and terrorism were not high on the agenda of the system's planners at its original inception. However, in the wake of heightened security concerns after the Madrid train bombings in 2004 and the foiled plot to bomb the Yishun MRT Station, the operators deployed private, unarmed guards to patrol station platforms and check the belongings of commuters.
Recorded announcements are frequently made to remind passengers to report suspicious activity and not to leave their belongings unattended. Digital closed-circuit cameras (CCTVs) have been upgraded with recording-capability at all stations and trains operated by SMRT Corporation. Trash bins and mail boxes have been removed from station platforms and concourse levels to station entrances. This is to eliminate the risk that bombs will be placed in them. Photography without prior permission was also banned in all MRT stations since.
On 14 April 2005, the Singapore Police Force announced plans to step up rail security by establishing a specialised Police MRT Unit, now known as Public Transport Security Command (Transcom). These armed officers began patrols on the MRT and LRT systems on 15 August 2005, conducting random patrols in pairs in and around rail stations and within trains. They are trained and authorised to use their firearms at their discretion, including deadly force if deemed necessary.[source?]
References[change | edit source]
- "Singapore's MRT Breakdown Chaos Leaves Thousands Stranded". December 16, 2011. http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/international/singapores-mrt-breakdown-chaos-leaves-thousands-stranded/485081#Scene_1.
- Land Transport Authority, Singapore 1996, pg. 44-47
- "Other Rail Projects". Land Transport Authority. http://www.lta.gov.sg/projects/index_proj_rail.htm. Retrieved 2005-12-07.
- "Speech by Mr Raymond Lim, Minister for Transport, at the Visit to Kim Chuan Depot, 25 January 2008, 9.00am" (PDF). Singapore Government Media Release. 25 January 2008. http://www.lta.gov.sg/corp_info/doc/250108.pdf.
- "2 new MRT lines & 2 extensions by 2020". The Straits Times. 2008-01-25. http://web.archive.org/web/20080128072925/http://www.straitstimes.com/Latest+News/Singapore/STIStory_199957.html.
- Christoper Tan (13 March 2006). "Groundwork begins for new MRT lines". The Straits Times.
- "Land Transport Authority - What's New :: Content". App.lta.gov.sg. 2007-04-27. http://app.lta.gov.sg/corp_press_content.asp?start=1763. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- "MRT network length to double by 2020; two new lines to be built". channelnewsasia.com. 2008-01-25. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporelocalnews/view/324859/1/.html. Retrieved 2009-10-15.
- R C Longden & E W Finch (April 1987). "Automatic Fare Collection - Serving the Commuter". MRTC & IES 1987, pg. 319-324 .
- Sharp 2005, pg. 113-115
- Maria Almenoar (9 January 2009). "Free replacement exercise on till Sept 30". The Straits Times. http://www.straitstimes.com/print/Breaking%2BNews/Singapore/Story/STIStory_323895.html. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
- Karamjit Kaur (20 November 2002). "Driverless MRT trains on new line will be safe; The North-East MRT line will have safety features like CCTVs and smoke detectors to protect commuters, says LTA". The Straits Times: p. 10.
- Tammy Tan (SBS Transit) (24 December 2005). "Measures in place to ensure safe ride on NEL". The Straits Times Forum.
- Kwan Cheng Fai (April 1987). "Architecture of Singapore MRT Underground Stations Concept Layout and Planning". MRTC & IES 1987, pp. 29–33 .
- Y C Siew & J P Copsey (April 1987). "Singapore Mass Rapid Transit System Design for Fire and Emergency". MRTC & IES 1987, pg. 131-139 .
- Mass Rapid Transit Corporation, Singapore, Trackline Volume 4 No. 5 (October 1987), "A safe railway for all", pp. 4–5.
- "Rapid Transit Systems Act (Chapter 263A, Section 42)". Singapore Statutes Online. http://statutes.agc.gov.sg/non_version/cgi-bin/cgi_retrieve.pl?actno=REVED-263A&doctitle=RAPID%20TRANSIT%20SYSTEMS%20ACT%0a&date=latest&method=part. Retrieved 2005-12-07.
- "Fined $30 for eating sweet". The Straits Times. 17 July 2009. http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking+News/Singapore/Story/STIStory_404559.html. Retrieved 2009-07-20.
- Matthew Pereira & Branden Pereira (6 August 1993). "MRT Trains collide at Clementi : 132 hurt". The Straits Times. pp. 1 & 25.
- Land Transport Authority (20 November 2005). "Safety at MRT and LRT Stations - Respect The Yellow Line". Press release. http://app.lta.gov.sg/corp_press_content.asp?start=1090.
Other websites[change | edit source]