Mass Rapid Transit (Singapore)
|Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)
Sistem Pengangkutan Gerak Cepat
துரிதக் கடவு ரயில்
|Owner||Land Transport Authority|
|Transit type||Rapid transit|
|Number of lines||5|
|Number of stations||106|
|Daily ridership||2.649 million (2012)|
|Began operation||November 7, 1987|
|Operator(s)||SBS Transit (ComfortDelGro Corporation)
SMRT Trains (SMRT Corporation)
|System length||148.9 km (92.52 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Mass Rapid Transit or MRT is a rapid transit system forming the major component of the railway system in Singapore, spanning the entire city-state. The initial section of the MRT, between Yio Chu Kang and Toa Payoh, opened in 1987, making it the second-oldest metro system in Southeast Asia, after Manila's LRT System. The network has since grown rapidly in accordance with Singapore's aim of developing a comprehensive rail network as the backbone of the public transport system in Singapore, with an average daily ridership of 2.649 million in 2012, approximately 76% of the bus network's 3.481 million in the same period.1
The MRT network has 106 stations with 153.2 km (95.19 mi) of lines in operation, on standard gauge. The lines are built by the Land Transport Authority, a statutory board of the Government of Singapore, which allocates operating concessions to the profit-based corporations, SMRT Corporation and SBS Transit. These operators also run bus and taxi services, thus facilitating full integration of public transport services. The MRT is complemented by a small number of regional Light Rail Transit (LRT) network in Bukit Panjang, Sengkang and Punggol that link MRT stations with HDB public housing estates.2 Services operate from about 5:30 am and usually end before 1 a.m. daily with intervals of approximately 90 seconds to seven minutes, and services extended during festive periods such as Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Hari Raya Puasa.3
- 1 History
- 2 Infrastructure
- 3 Expansion
- 4 Rolling stock
- 5 Fares and ticketing
- 6 Safety
- 7 Security
- 8 Significant accidents and incidents
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The origins of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) are derived from a forecast by city planners in 1967 which stated the need for a rail-based urban transport system by 1992.45 Following a debate on whether a bus-only system would be more cost-effective, Parliament came to the conclusion that an all-bus system would be inadequate, as it would have to compete for road space in a land-scarce country.67 The initial S$5 billion construction of the Mass Rapid Transit network was Singapore's largest public works project at the time, starting on 22 October 1983 at Shan Road.8 The network was built in stages, with the North South Line given priority because it passed through the Central Area that has a high demand for public transport. The Mass Rapid Transit Corporation (MRTC), later renamed as SMRT Corporation — was established on 14 October 1983; it took over the roles and responsibilities of the former provisional Mass Rapid Transit Authority.6 On 7 November 1987, the first section of the North South Line started operations, consisting of five stations over six kilometres.8 Fifteen more stations were opened later, and the MRT system was officially launched on 12 March 1988 by Lee Kuan Yew, then Prime Minister of Singapore. Another 21 stations were subsequently added to the system; the opening of Boon Lay on the East West Line on 6 July 1990 marked the completion of the system two years ahead of schedule.910
The MRT has subsequently been expanded. This includes a S$1.2 billion expansion of the North South Line into Woodlands, completing a continuous loop on 10 February 1996.1112 The concept of having rail lines that bring people almost directly to their homes led to the introduction of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines connecting with the MRT network.1213 On 6 November 1999, the first LRT trains on the Bukit Panjang LRT went into operation.14 In 2002, the Changi Airport and Expo stations were added to the MRT network.15 The North East Line, the first line operated by SBS Transit, opened on 20 June 2003, one of the first fully automated heavy rail lines in the world. On 15 January 2006, after intense lobbying by the public, Buangkok station was opened.1617 The Boon Lay Extension of the East West Line, consisting of Pioneer and Joo Koon stations, began revenue service on 28 February 2009.1819 The Circle Line opened in four stages from 28 May 2009 to 14 January 2012.
Except for the partly at-grade Bishan, the entirety of the MRT is elevated or underground. Most below-ground stations are deep and hardened enough to withstand conventional aerial bomb attacks and to serve as bomb shelters.222324 Mobile phone service is available in and between all stations on the entire MRT network.25 Underground stations and the trains themselves are air-conditioned, though some above-ground stations have fans.
Every station is equipped with General Ticketing Machines (GTMs), a Passenger Service Centre, LED and plasma displays that show train service information and announcements. All stations are equipped with restrooms and payphones, although some restrooms are located at street level.26 Some stations, especially the major ones, have additional amenities and services, such as retail shops and kiosks, supermarkets, convenience stores, automatic teller machines, and self-service automated kiosks for a variety of services.27 Heavy-duty escalators at stations carry passengers up or down at a rate of 0.75 m/s, 50% faster than conventional escalators.2829
The older stations on the North South and East West lines were originally built with no accessibility facilities, such as lifts, ramps, tactile guidance systems (Braille tactiles on the floor surface), wider fare gates, or toilets for passengers with disabilities;30 authorities in the past actively discouraged use of their system by the disabled.31 Now, these facilities are being progressively installed as part of a programme to make all stations accessible to the elderly and to those with disabilities.303233 All stations are now barrier-free, although works are still ongoing to provide stations with additional barrier-free facilities. The installation of lifts at pedestrian overhead bridges next to six MRT stations and additional bicycle racks at 20 stations is slated to be completed by the end of 2013.34
SMRT Corporation has four train depots: Bishan Depot is the central maintenance depot with train overhaul facilities,35 while Changi Depot and Ulu Pandan Depot inspect and house trains overnight.36 In March 2012, it was announced the new Tuas Depot would be ready in 2016, replacing Bishan as the central depot for the East West Line.37 The underground Kim Chuan Depot houses trains for the Circle Line and Downtown Line, now jointly managed by the two operators.38
SBS Transit has two depots: Sengkang Depot housing trains for the North East Line, the Sengkang LRT and the Punggol LRT together with Kim Chuan Depot for the Downtown Line. In August 2012, plans for a new three-level depot at Changi to serve the East West Line, Downtown Line, and Eastern Region Line were announced. The existing depot will be completely rebuilt.39
Early stages of the MRT's construction paid relatively scant attention to station design, with an emphasis on functionality over aesthetics. This is particularly evident in the first few stages of the North South Line and the East West Line that opened between 1987 and 1988 from Yio Chu Kang to Clementi. An exception to this was Orchard, chosen by its designers to be a "showpiece" of the system and built initially with a domed roof.40 Architectural themes became a more important issue only in subsequent stages, and resulted in such designs as the cylindrical station shapes on all stations between Kallang and Pasir Ris except Eunos, and west of Boon Lay, and the perched roofs at Boon Lay, Lakeside, Chinese Garden, Bukit Batok, Bukit Gombak, Choa Chu Kang, Khatib, Yishun and Eunos stations.41
Art pieces, where present, are seldom highlighted; they primarily consist of a few paintings or sculptures representing the recent past of Singapore, mounted in major stations. The opening of the Woodlands Extension introduced bolder pieces of artwork, such as a 4,000 kg sculpture in Woodlands.42 With the opening of the North East Line, a series of artworks created under a programme called "The Art In Transit" were commissioned by the Land Transport Authority. Created by 19 local artists and integrated into the stations' interior architecture, these works aim to promote the appreciation of public art in high-traffic environments. The artwork for each station is designed to suit the station's identity. Only stations on the North East Line come under this programme. The Circle Line will also feature the Art in Transit scheme.43 An art contest was held by the authorities in preparation for a similar scheme to be implemented for the Circle Line.44
Expo is on the Changi Airport Branch Line, is adjacent to the 100,000-square-metre Singapore Expo exhibition facility. Designed by Foster and Partners and completed in January 2001, the station features a large, pillarless, titanium-clad roof in an elliptical shape that sheathes the length of the station platform. This complements a smaller 40-metre reflective stainless-steel disc overlapping the titanium ellipse and visually floats over a glass elevator shaft and the main entrance. The other station with similar architecture is Dover.4546
Changi Airport, the easternmost station on the MRT network, has the widest platform in any underground MRT station in Singapore. It is rated 10 out of 15 most beautiful subway stops in the world in 2011.47
Two Circle Line stations, Bras Basah and Stadium, were commissioned through the Marina Line Architectural Design Competition jointly organized by the Land Transport Authority and the Singapore Institute of Architects. The competition required no track record and is acknowledged by the industry as one of the most impartial competitions held in Singapore to date. The winner of both stations was WOHA. In 2009, "Best Transport Building" was awarded to the designers at WOHA Architects at the World Architecture Festival.48
The MRT system relied on its two main lines, the North South and East West Line, for more than a decade until the opening of the North East Line in 2003. While plans for these lines as well as those currently under construction were formulated long before, the Land Transport Authority's publication of a White Paper titled "A World Class Land Transport System" in 1996 galvanised the government's intentions to greatly expand the system.4950 The plans allow for the long-term replacement of the bus network by rail services as the primary mode of public transport. It called for the expansion of the 67 kilometres of track in 1995 to over 160 in 10 to 15 years, and envisaged further expansion in the longer term.49 It was expected that daily ridership in 2020 would grow to 4.6 million from the 1.4 million passengers at that time,51 though these projections would now apply to 2021 due to schedule slippage of the Thomson Line.
The 42-kilometre fully underground Downtown Line with 34 stations will connect the northwestern and eastern regions of Singapore to the new downtown at Marina Bay in the south and to the Central Business District.52 Similar to the Circle Line, three-car trainsets will run on the Downtown Line with line capacity projected for 500,000 commuters daily. Slated to be completed in three stages, Stages 2 from Bukit Panjang to Rochor and 3 from Fort Canning to Expo will begin operations in 2016 and 2017 respectively.51535455 Stage 1 from Bugis to Chinatown began operations in December 2013.56
The 30-kilometre Thomson Line with 22 stations will connect the northern region of Singapore to the south, running parallel to the existing North South Line passing through Woodlands, Sin Ming, Upper Thomson and Marina Bay before connecting and running through the Eastern Region Line.57 The line will commence operation in three phases, with Phase 1 from Woodlands North to Woodlands South opening in 2019, Phase 2 from Springleaf to Caldecott opening in 2020 and Phase 3 from Mount Pleasant to Gardens by the Bay opening in 2021.58
The 12-kilometre Eastern Region Line is tentatively planned to serve 10 stations. It will run from Marina Bay, passing through Tanjong Rhu, Siglap, Marine Parade and Bedok before terminating at Changi.5159 The route is generally parallel to and located south of the East West Line. The line is currently under detailed engineering studies and is expected to open in 2020.
First proposed as a LRT line when originally announced in 2001, Jurong Region Line has been upgraded to a medium capacity line. The new configuration will serve West Coast, Tengah and Choa Chu Kang and Jurong. It's expected to open in 2025.60
The 50-kilometre Cross Island Line will span the island of Singapore, passing through Tuas, Jurong, Sin Ming, Ang Mo Kio, Hougang, Punggol, Pasir Ris and Changi. The addition of the new line brings commuters with another alternative for East-West travel to the current East West Line. It will also connect to all the other major lines to serve as a key transfer line, complementing the role currently fulfilled by the orbital Circle Line. It's expected to open in 2030.60
A 1-kilometre one station extension from Marina Bay initially due for completion in 2015, but brought forward by a year to 2014.6162 The new Marina South Pier will be located near the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore in Marina Bay.
The Tuas West Extension is an extension of the East West Line from Joo Koon to Tuas Link. The stations — Gul Circle, Tuas Crescent, Tuas West Road and Tuas Link — will extend MRT connectivity to the Tuas area and are expected to serve more than 100,000 commuters daily. It's expected to open in 2016.63 Construction began in 2012 and is planned to be completed in 2016.63
To be completed by 2030, the 2-kilometre extension will run from Punggol through Punggol North including the new Punggol Downtown. The extension is for future residents in Punggol North to have train access to the city centre as well as other parts of Singapore.60
Four types of rolling stock are used on the North South and East West Lines (NSEWL). They are powered by 750-volt DC third rail, operate in sets of six cars,646566 and use an automatic train operation system (ATO) that is similar to London Underground's Victoria Line.66
The majority of the fleet comprises 66 six-car C151 trains;67 these are the oldest trains in operation.64 They were built between 1986 and 1989 by Kawasaki Heavy Industries in consortium with Nippon Sharyo, Tokyu Car Corporation and Kinki Sharyo for S$581.5 million.6468 A S$142.7 million refurbishment of these trains' interior was completed in 2009.6970 19 more six-car C651 trains, manufactured by Siemens in Vienna, were bought in 1994 when the Woodlands Extension opened.7172
A further 21 six-car C751B trains have been running on the NSEWL since 2000.73 Kawasaki Heavy Industries manufactured 66 cars and Nippon Sharyo manufactured 60 cars.67 The cars have a sleeker design and an improved passenger information system, more grab poles, wider seats, more space near the doors, and spaces for wheelchairs. As these trains were originally intended to operate on a direct service from Boon Lay to Changi Airport, luggage racks were installed for air travellers.74 However, in April 2002, faulty gearboxes forced all 21 train-sets to be taken out of use, and the service was temporarily suspended.75 The direct service was scrapped in July 2003 and the luggage racks removed.76
25 six-car fully automatic and driverless C751A trains have been running on the North East Line since 2003. These trains are running on 1500 volts direct current supplied via overhead lines and are the first MRT trains in Singapore to incorporate CCTV.77 Alstom Transportation of France was contracted by the Land Transport Authority in 1997 and 1998 to supply these cars.78 A further 40 three-car fully automatic and driverless C830 trains began operation on the Circle Line on 28 May 2009. Unlike their C751A counterparts, these trains run on 750-volt DC supplied via third rail.79
The C151A trains are the fourth generations trains, manufactured by a consortium comprising Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Sifang. All have been delivered and on revenue service since February 2012.80 After the 15 & 17 December disruptions, SMRT suspected that the extra weight from the train might have caused the disruptions. Since then, these trains has not been on the North South Line, except these trains will return to Bishan Depot if needs major maintenance overhaul which Changi and Ulu Pandan depots cannot provide. Another 78 cars (13 trainsets) of C151A trains are in production, to be delivered by 2014.81
88 three-car fully automatic and driverless C951 "Movia" trains will run on the Downtown Line by 2017, with initial deliveries scheduled for the last quarter of 2012 and the final deliveries for 2016.82 These trains will run on 750-volt DC supplied by third rail. On 12 October 2012, the first of 11 trains for the Downtown Line Stage 1 arrived at Jurong Port and transported to Kim Chuan Depot to undergo testing by LTA before it is handed over to SBS Transit.83 An addition of 15 more trains was bought by Land Transport Authority which totalled up the number of trains to 88.84 A partial number of the total fleet operates on the Stage 1 of Downtown Line since 22 December 2013.
A contract for 18 additional North East Line trains and 24 additional Circle Line trains called Contract C751C and Contract C830C respectively has been awarded to Alstom Transport S.A/Alstom Transport (S) Pte Ltd for S$234.9 million and S$134 million respectively. These trains will be named as Alstom Metropolis C751C and Alstom Metropolis C830C.8586
168 cars of Kawasaki Heavy Industries & CSR Sifang C151B, with the turnkey Contract C151B, was awarded to Kawasaki Heavy Industries at a price of S$281,508,884.00. These 28 new trains will be used on the North South and East West lines, and Tuas West Extension.87
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.88 These gates, connected to a computer network, can read and update electronic tickets capable of storing data, and can store information such as the initial and destination stations and the duration for each trip.89 General Ticketing Machines sell tickets for single trips or allow the customer to buy 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.89 Commuters can choose to extend a trip mid-journey, and pay the difference when they exit their destination station.
Because the rail operators are government-assisted, profit-based corporations, fares on the MRT system are pitched to at least break-even level.2290 The operators collect these fares by selling electronic data-storing tickets, the prices of which are calculated based on the distance between the start and destination stations.89 These prices increase in fixed stages for standard non-discounted travel. Fares are calculated in increments based on approximate distances between stations, in contrast to the use of fare zones in other subway systems, such as the London Underground.
Although operated by private companies, the system's fare structure is regulated by the Public Transport Council (PTC), to which the operators submit requests for changes in fares.9091 Fares are kept affordable by pegging them approximately to distance-related bus fares, thus encouraging commuters to use the network and reduce its heavy reliance on the bus system. Fare increases over the past few years have caused public concern,92 the latest one having taken effect from 1 October 2008.93 There were similar expressions of disapproval over the slightly higher fares charged on SBS Transit's North East Line, a disparity that SBS Transit justified by citing higher costs of operation and maintenance on a completely underground line, as well as lower patronage.94
The ticketing system uses the EZ-Link and NETS FlashPay contactless smart cards based upon the Symphony for e-Payment (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.95 The EZ-Link card was introduced on 13 April 2002 as a replacement for the original TransitLink farecard, while its competitor the NETS FlashPay card entered the smartcard market on 9 October 2009.
An adult EZ-Link card may be bought at any TransitLink Ticket Office or Passenger Service Centre. The card may also be used for payment for goods and services at merchants displaying the "EZ-Link" logo, Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) tolls, and Electronic Parking System carparks.9596 Additional credit may be purchased at any General Ticketing Machine (GTM), Add Value Machine (AVM), TransitLink Ticket Office, Passenger Service Centre, AXS Station, DBS/POSB Automatic Teller Machine (ATM), online via a card reader purchased separately, or selected merchants. Additional credit of a predetermined value may also be automatically purchased whenever the card value is low via an automatic recharge service provided by Interbank GIRO or through a manual application at the TransitLink Ticket Office or credit card online. An option for EZ-Link Season Pass for unlimited travel on buses and trains is available for purchase and is non-transferable. Its main competitor, the NETS FlashPay card, may be purchased for at least S$12 for the payment of transport fares in Singapore and at merchants displaying the "NETS FlashPay" logo.
A Standard Ticket contactless smart card for single trips may also be purchased, inclusive of a deposit, for the payment of MRT and LRT fares. The card may be purchased only at the GTM. The deposit may also be retrieved by returning the card to the GTM within 30 days from the date of issue or donated to charity by depositing it in a collection box at any station. This card cannot be recharged with additional credit.
For tourists, a Singapore Tourist Pass contactless smartcard may be purchased.97 The card may be bought at selected TransitLink Ticket Offices and Singapore Visitors Centres. The deposit may be retrieved by returning the card to selected TransitLink Ticket Offices and Singapore Visitors Centres within 5 days from the date of issue.
Operators and authorities state that numerous measures have been taken to ensure the safety of passengers, and SBS Transit publicised the safety precautions on the driverless North East Line before and after its opening.7798 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.2499
Safety concerns were raised among the public after several accidents on the system during the 1980s and 1990s. On 5 August 1993, two trains collided at Clementi station because of an oil spillage on the track, which resulted in 132 injuries.100
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. Underground stations already featured the doors since 1987. The authorities initially rejected the proposal by casting doubts over functionality and concerns about the high installation costs,101 but made an about-turn when the government announced plans to install half-height platform screen doors on the above-ground stations in January 2008,51 citing lower costs due to it becoming a more common feature worldwide.102 They were first installed at Jurong East, Pasir Ris and Yishun stations in 2009 as trial runs.103
By 14 March 2012, all above-ground stations have been retrofitted with the doors and are operational.104 These prevent suicides, enable climate control in underground stations and prevent unauthorised access to restricted areas. Under the Rapid Transit Systems Act, acts such as smoking, eating or drinking on stations and trains, the misuse of emergency equipment and trespassing on the railway tracks are illegal, with penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment.105106
A preliminary implementation plan for railway noise mitigation was to be developed by the third quarter of 2012 and currently in use at Jurong East and Bishan stations among others.107
Security concerns related to crime and terrorism were not high on the agenda of the system's planners at its inception.108 However, after the Madrid train bombings in 2004 and the foiled plot to bomb the Yishun MRT Station,109 the operators deployed private, unarmed guards to patrol station platforms and check the belongings of commuters.110
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.111112 Trash bins and mail boxes have been removed from station platforms and concourse levels to station entrances, to eliminate the risk that bombs will be placed in them.113 Photography without permission was also banned in all MRT stations since the Madrid bombings, but it was not in the official statement in any public transport security reviews.114
On 14 April 2005 the Singapore Police Force announced plans to step up rail security by establishing a specialised Public Transport Security Command.115 These armed officers began overt patrols on the MRT and LRT systems on 15 August 2005, conducting random patrols in pairs in and around rail stations and within trains.116 They are trained and authorised to use their firearms at their discretion, including deadly force if deemed necessary.117 On 8 January 2006, a major civil exercise involving over 2,000 personnel from 22 government agencies, codenamed Exercise Northstar V, simulating bombing and chemical attacks at Dhoby Ghaut, Toa Payoh, Raffles Place and Marina Bay MRT stations was conducted. Thirteen stations were closed and about 3,400 commuters were affected during the three-hour exercise.118
Security concerns were brought up by the public when two incidents of vandalism at train depots occurred within two years.119 In both incidents, graffiti on the affected trains were discovered after they entered revenue service.120 The first incident, on 17 May 2010, involved a breach in the perimeter fence of Changi Depot and resulted in the imprisonment and caning of a Swiss citizen, and an Interpol arrest warrant for his accomplice. The train involved was C151 047/048.121122 SMRT Corporation received a S$50,000 fine by the Land Transport Authority for the first security breach.122 Measures were put in place by the Public Transport Security Committee to enhance depot security in light of the first incident, but works were yet to be completed by SMRT Corporation when the second incident, on 17 August 2011, occurred at Bishan Depot.119120
On 22 November 2012, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) carried out a ground deployment exercise with SMRT to test their incident management plans in the event of a train service disruption. In total, about 135 personnel including representatives from the Singapore Police Force's Transport Command (TransCom) and SBS Transit participated in the exercise. Train service continued as per normal and commuters were not affected by the exercise. Codenamed 'Exercise Greyhound', the exercise went through the scenario of a broken rail on the East West Line at Buona Vista. SMRT had also activated their Rail Incident Management Plan.123
On 22 August 2013, ‘Exercise Greyhound 2013’ was carried out by the Land Transport Authority with SBS Transit to validate the procedures of SBST’s Operations Control Centre (OCC) and the workability of its contingency plans for bus bridging, free bus service and deployment of Goodwill Ambassadors (GAs) during a simulated prolonged train service disruption. About 300 personnel including representatives from LTA, SBST, SMRT, the Singapore Police Force’s Transport Command (TransCom), Traffic Police and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) participated in the exercise. Train service continued as per normal and commuters were not affected by the exercise.124
The Nicoll Highway collapse was a major construction accident that occurred at approximately 3.30 pm on 20 April 2004 in Singapore when a tunnel being constructed for use by MRT trains collapsed. The tunnel was part of the construction of the underground Circle Line, near the Nicoll Highway. The supporting structure for the deep excavation work failed, resulting in a 30-metre (100 ft) deep cave-in that spread across six lanes of Nicoll Highway.
In December 2011, train services were disrupted throughout the North South Line, causing a delay that lasted for four hours and an overnight shutdown as authorities scramble to rescue four trains and thousands of people trapped underground. A committee was subsequently launched to investigate the causes behind the worst breakdowns in Singapore's history.
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