Over the next few years, commuters can expect more temporary closures of segments of the North-South and East-West MRT lines over the weekends.
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said the closures are needed for the maintenance
and installation of a new signaling system and the replacement of the network’s older parts, according to various media reports.
“If we were to do the upgrading (works) using only the hours available to us now,
between the revenue service periods (when the trains are not operating), I think every night, you may have at most three-and-a-half or so hours… (that) leaves very, very
little time for major upgrading works,” he said, as quoted by Channel NewsAsia
However, he assured commuters that ample time would be given to alert them of the planned closures to afford them enough time to make alternative travel plans.
Free bus bridging services would also be provided for affected train stations.
Speaking at a dialogue to residents of the Cheng San-Seletar ward, Lui added that
transport company SMRT needs more time to install new signaling systems for the North-South Line from 2016, and the East-West Line from 2018.
The new systems will allow trains to cut down travelling time from 120 seconds to 100 seconds during peak periods, reported The Straits Times.
Lui also addressed concerns on the S$1.1 billion budget set aside by the government
to buy new buses for SBS Transit and SMRT.
"If you want this enhanced standard but you don't want the government to put in the money, we think that bus fares on average will have to go up by 15 cents and that's quite a lot,” he was quoted by CNA as saying.
“Essentially, when we came up with this scheme, the way we were thinking about it is that this is not a subsidy to the operator. It is actually a subsidy to the commuter.”