MRT Thomson Line(TSL) is a white elephant? It is better to invest in Pulau Ubin with a new MRT line and HDB flats

By Jackson Tan
Published by The Online Citizen on September 1, 2012
The construction of new MRT lines brings in many benefits, both in terms of GDP and promoting the development of residential and commercial areas. However, in the past decade or so, there seems to be a rising trend of building many MRT lines, the main reason cited by the government being to improve public transport network.  

East-West Line (EWL) – Opened in 1987 (26 stations)
North-South Line (NSL) – Opened in 1987 (35 stations)
North-East Line (NEL) – Opened in 2003 (16 stations)
Circle Line (CCL) – Opened in 2009 (30 stations)
Downtown Line (DTL) – Stage 1 by 2013, fully operational by 2017 (34 stations)
Thomson Line (TSL) – Stage 1 by 2019, fully operational by 2021 (22 stations)
That’s more than 160 MRT stations in a small red dot, a staggering figure given the small land area. At the same time, the current population tends closely to almost 6 million, and possibly 7 million by 2021, given the ‘relaxed’ immigration policy, with non-Singaporeans making up close to 40%. While it may be said that the construction of so many MRT stations is also to cope with the increasing population, there are some questions worth exploring.
  1. Using taxpayers’ money to cater to the needs of Singaporeans or more foreigners?
With decreasing birth rates among Singaporeans and increasing influx of foreigners, do the new MRT stations cater more to foreigners rather than Singaporeans?
  1. More MRT stations = more ridership = more revenue for operators?
Inevitably, with a rising population, there will be more people taking public transport, hence more revenue for public transport operators such as SMRT and SBS. Public transport should be based on public interest, but here it seems more of a private interest, a business tactic?
  1. More MRT stations to drive commuters underground?
With Singapore very urbanized, new MRT lines are fully underground. With traffic congestions aboveground a problem, the intention of new MRT lines may be to divert aboveground traffic to underground. Not a long term solution since the main reason of traffic congestion is the increasing population, hence if the government is sincere about addressing the issue, they should relook at the immigration policy instead.
In addition, there are also other concerns such as too much digging of underground soil which may lead to more surface runoff, air pollution to nearby residential areas and disruptions to accessibility when roads, especially those with heavy traffic flow, are diverted to accommodate the construction.
It is a fact that the real reason for so many MRT stations is to accommodate the increasing population, thus they do not meet a real demand in the first place but merely a response to the negative effects of the government’s immigration policy.

SINGAPORE – The new 30km long Thomson MRT line is set to open in three stages from 2019, and will have 22 stations – six of which will be interchanges connecting to all MRT lines and the upcoming Downtown Line (DTL).
Transport Minister Liu Tuck Yew announced the finalised plans for the Thomson Line (TSL) at a DTL event earlier today.

Fully underground, the new line is expected to be built at an estimated cost of around $18 billion and anticipated to have a daily ridership of about 400,000 commuters in the initial years.

He said that Singapore’s sixth MRT line will run through the “north-south corridor, starting in the Woodlands North area, passing through the industrial estate of Sin Ming, down to the residential Thomson area and the shopping districts of Orchard and Marina, before ending at Gardens by the Bay”The six interchanges include the Woodlands and Orchard stations which connect the TSL to the North-South Line. It will also run through Caldecott and Marina Bay stations which will connect commuters to the Circle Line.
Outram Park station will link the TSL to North-East Line and East-West Line while the sixth interchange station is Stevens on stage two of the upcoming Downtown Line.
Minister Liu added that the Thomson Line would be a four-car system, instead of a three-car system, “allowing for additional capacity to cope with any increase in long-term demand”.
When fully operational, an estimated 60,000 households will be within 400m, and another 100,000 households between 400m and 800m from one of the Thomson Line Stations – about 10 to 12 minutes walk away.
Expected to be completed in three stages, the first stretch (three stations from Woodlands North to Woodlands South) is set to be completed in 2019.
The second stretch (six stations from Springleaf to Caldecott) will be completed in 2020 and the final stretch (13 stations from Mount Pleasant to Gardens by the Bay) in 2021.
Four lots will have to be acquired by the Government to make way for the new line. These properties include a post office along Upper Thomson Road and two landed properties along Stevens Road and Robin Close.
Pearls Centre at Eu Tong Sen Street will also be affected as a TSL tunnel will run under part of the building. It will be acquired and amalgamated with the adjoining State land for a high-density mixed-use development.
Draft Singaporeans, PAP is trying to build an MRT line that run through a “duplication” route that will not be productive until maybe 50 years later because it will immediately cause land prices to spike, to increase SLA’s land banking, but is there really a demand? This is a last straw attempt to continue the property bubble in Singapore even though everywhere else in the global world is slowing, definitely a bad investment. I really question this “white elephant”, on what basis is the government wasting taxpayer’s money on “investments” when it cannot even make sure it will be re-elected in GE2016? Trying to create “demand” out of thin air? Fat hope. Nobody in the right sense will think that MRT will solve all your transport problems, there must be a balance, and PAP is throwing away money like water by hiding so many bad decisions. Look at all the surrounding stations, most are all located at landed properties (how many staying there will take MRT when they can afford a cab or own a car?) and only Woodlands is there a ready high density, but how many really need to travel to downtown? The rest are connecting stations but will it really spike ridership? 400,000 daily users is just a projection out of thin air, by my estimates the figure is less than a quarter where half are thru connecting stations, and S$18 billion is a huge burden for Singaporeans if it does not pay off. Do you want huge increases in transport costs to recover the loss? How will it affect the livelihood of taxi drivers? About 35% of taxi drivers will lose their incomes when TCL is fully completed, but is it necessary? Are you asking the last batch of self employed Singaporeans to eat shit? We can easily delay the project when demand arises. Woodlands MRT should design similar to Tanah Merah MRT platform to link to JB, to be interconnected at Woodlands North MRT, and congestion during peak hours can be controlled by charging a penalty to discourage crowding. Even if you open the floodgates for Malaysians to come from JB, the very most you can bump up another 100,000 ridership daily.
My Assumptions;
If you take a radius of 10 mins walk around every station in TCL, you can roughly guess the number of families staying there by it’s density, the number of families that own a car that will NOT use the MRT and the remainder, even if everyone uses the MRT the number of trips that originates from that station and the number of trips that end there, it will not exceed the 400,000 daily trips that was estimated, most likely a far cry which will not justify the cost of building the TCL, unless all the landed properties in the surrounding area are repossessed to build HDB flats, which will take at least half a lifetime. Are you willing to pay double what you are paying now for MRT fares when TCL is completed but is making a loss to compensate?
Sign the petition ;
– Contributed by Oogle.


Author: Gilbert Tan TS

IT expert with more than 20 years experience in Multiple OS, Security, Data & Internet , Interests include AI and Big Data, Internet and multimedia. An experienced Real Estate agent, Insurance agent, and a Futures trader. I am capable of finding any answers in the world you want as long as there are reports available online for me to do my own research to bring you closest to all the unsolved mysteries in this world, because I can find all the paths to the Truth, and what the Future holds. All I need is to observe, test and probe to research on anything I want, what you need to do will take months to achieve, all I need is a few hours.​

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