We thank Mr Ong Hwee Eng for his letter ("New MRT line: Plan for six-car system"; Sept 3).
The Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) will serve public transport demand along the north-south and eastern corridors, linking housing estates like Sin Ming, Tanjong Rhu and Marine Parade, which were previously not served by the rail network, to the city.
In the planning of new rail lines, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) considers factors such as projected population growth and ridership figures, the role the line plays in an expanding rail network, and commuter travel patterns, taking into account the distribution of residential units and employment sectors across Singapore.
Compared to a four-car system, a six-car system would need substantially higher land-take for larger stations and depots, and potentially more land acquisitions with impact on homes and families.
The LTA must therefore weigh these considerations against the need for a higher-capacity system.
The north-south corridor is at present served by the North-South Line, which operates on a six-car system. The opening of the Thomson stretch of TEL from 2019 will bring about additional capacity along the same corridor.
Commuters in the east can currently take the East-West Line, a six-car system.
From 2017, they will have another option to take the Downtown Line 3, a three-car system; and from 2023, the East Coast stretch of TEL.
The TEL is therefore designed to build on existing and planned capacity.
The LTA has assessed that a four-car system is optimal for the TEL. At the same time, it is a significant expansion that enhances accessibility and connectivity for commuters.
Helen Lim (Ms)
Director, Media Relations
Land Transport Authority
This article was first published on September 15, 2014.
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