Consider rail terminal in Changi

Consider rail terminal in Changi
Singapore Changi International Airport.

SINGAPORE - Singapore has named Tuas West, Jurong East and the city centre as three potential sites for the terminal of the planned high-speed rail link with Kuala Lumpur ("S'pore lists 3 sites for high-speed KL rail link"; Tuesday).

Some experts have recommended Tuas West or Jurong East, but I wonder if Changi Airport or its surroundings could be a better location, for the sake of connectivity.

Besides the airport, other locations like the area around the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal or golf course should also be considered for the terminal, with another station in Tuas West.

The eastern terminal will serve passengers at the airport and ferry terminal as well as residents living in the east, while the Tuas West station will cater to MRT commuters and those living in the west.

Having a high-speed rail station near Changi Airport makes sense as more passenger traffic can be captured.

Taiwan built a high-speed rail station near its international airport in Taoyuan, boosting connectivity to Taipei and Kaohsiung. And in Hong Kong, there are direct sea links at the airport by ferry to places such as Shenzhen and Macau.

Such connectivity provides convenience to travellers, boosts airport traffic and makes the airport an integrated multi-modal hub, which Singapore aspires to be.

If practicable, we can build separate train cabins for transit passengers, who can be whisked away from the airport to Malaysia while bypassing immigration clearance in Singapore. This might attract more airlines and travellers to Changi Airport.

The Changi-Tuas link will also alleviate traffic congestion caused by people travelling from one end of the island to the other, by getting car owners to switch to the high-speed rail instead of driving.

Ee Teck Siew

This article was published on April 12 in The Straits Times.

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