Friday, January 18, 2013

New Jurong rail line was mooted a decade ago


Jan 18, 2013
By Jermyn Chow And Christopher Tan

The new rail line linking up the Jurong area that will be ready by 2025 was mooted more than 10 years ago.

The Jurong Region Line was was actually first announced in 2001 by then Communications and Information Technology Minister Yeo Cheow Tong.

But the light rail system, which would have linked the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to the East-West MRT Line's Boon Lay station and been called the Jurong Region LRT Line, was never built.

Transport observers said that low ridership then did not make an additional rail line in an area that is dotted with factories and prawn ponds feasible.

But today, western Singapore is buzzing with activity, with the new Jurong Gateway set to become a major commercial hub.

So a new 20km rail line will provide better connectivity for commuters who live, study and work within the area, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew yesterday.

They include NTU students and workers in Jurong Industrial Estate and Jurong Island.

Commuters can also bypass the Jurong East MRT interchange, which has become a choke point for commuters who have to switch to trains on the East-West Line to get to the city centre.

Mr Lui said the new line "will not only shorten their travel times, but also redistribute ridership" out of Jurong East station.

Better late than never, said Bukit Gombak resident Manoj Kumar, who has to jostle for space in a train every morning at the Jurong East MRT interchange to get to his Raffles Place workplace.

"It should have come earlier... it is madness trying to squeeze with everyone else to get on the trains," said the 42-year-old equity broker.

Jurong GRC MP Ang Wei Neng said he has heard similar complaints from other residents who say the road network and bus services in the area leave much to be desired.

With upcoming launches of new shopping malls, a hotel and offices in the Jurong area, Mr Ang welcomed the latest decision to build the Jurong Region Line.

And although the line will only be ready by 2025, Mr Ang said residents can look forward to more improvements to be made to bus services.

"We have to build in advance, not just for today's requirements," he said.


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