DID AUTHORITIES GIVE IT MUCH THOUGHT BEFORE BUILDING BUKIT PANJANG LRT?

In an article by TODAY (Massive waste to take down BPLRT system: Experts, 7 Oct), several experts were quoted as saying that the Bukit Panjang LRT line was “doomed from the start.”

The LRT was deployed in 1999, owned by LTA and operated by SMRT. It reportedly has a ridership of about 50,000 daily.

Recently, a blog post by SMRT suggested that the system may be scrapped, citing declining ridership and supposed huge losses from operating the system.

For instance, SMRT claims that the line posted a $1.6m loss the quarter ending 30 June. For the previous financial year ending 31 Mar, the loss was $3.8m and up from $2.1m previously.

From the online article, one Professor Lee Der Horng was quoted as saying that the way in which the line was built was not fully integrated with the Town centre, leading to stations being some distance away from the blocks where people lived.

This “network then suffered from poor ridership, which led to poor revenue.”

In addition, he also questioned why the line had a lifespan of a mere 20 year, which he says to be “so limited” and suggested that the line should have a “longer term of more than 25 years” instead.

Earlier, the SDP pointed out that “many train systems all over the world much older than the one in BP that are still running [beacuse of improvements to the systems”.

It added that “there is a strong sense of pride in the work done in these places, something that is obviously missing under the PAP’s leadership in Singapore.”

Separately, blogger Andrew Loh commented sarcastically in a Facebook post that the system costs an average of $15.5m a year throughout its 17 year lifespan with its $285 million construction costs. He made a comparison with the budget terminal costing $7.5m a year.

It makes one wonder how much foresight or lack of had gone into the design and deployment of the system.

What do you think?

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