The second phase of the Circle Line will open to passengers on April 17. The 11-station stretch, from Bartley to Dhoby Ghaut stations, will start operations almost a year after the first five stations were opened to the public last May.
With this new opening, about half the Circle Line or about 16 stations will connect commuters to places like the new Sports Hub through Stadium Station, to Suntec via Promenade Station and the museums via Bras Basah Station.
Transport Minister Raymond Lim said: “This is a significant thing for us because now you have these direct connections. So if you are on the eastern side, north-eastern side, you have a direct line that connects you instead of having to go to the city centre.”
So a commuter going from, say, interchange station Paya Lebar to Bishan can shave off about 18 minutes or half his travelling time, said the Land Transport Authority. Commuters can bypass the busy City Hall and Raffles Place stations.
Building the Paya Lebar Station was not easy. One of the challenges that engineers faced in building this interchange station was that they had to connect an underground line to an existing above ground station.
For commuters who also had to endure congestion during road diversions, the opening has been welcomed.
Said one man in the street: “The transportation was very bad and there used to have jams all over and time taken from one place to another was very bad. Now of course, there are a lot of changes.”
“It saves time, like when we are rushing to meet friends and family, it will be much more better,” said another commuter.
Transport authorities now expect the Circle Line ridership to spike to about 200,000 daily.
Also operating will be the station that caused a delay to the opening of the Circle Line when the site at Nicoll Highway collapsed.
Sim Wee Meng, group director, Rail, Land Transport Authority, said: “Nicoll Highway, we have built at the new site which is 100 metres away from existing site. It’s now completed and will open as part of Circle Line 1 & 2.”
As for the possibility of bus rationalisation, Mr Lim said: “The LTA will have to work with the operators to see whether they need to streamline any of the services in order to feed into the Circle Line.”
The final phase of the Circle Line, which will link up the western parts of Singapore to the line with stops in places like Botanic Gardens and Holland Village, is expected to be ready next year.
Source: Channel News Asia, 26 Jan 2010