What a difference two new MRT stations make.
For commuters getting off at City Hall station, their long and winding walk to Suntec City, Marina Square and Millenia Walk will soon be over.
The new Esplanade and Promenade MRT stations are at these malls’ doorsteps. These stations are among the 11 on the Circle Line that will open on April 17.
‘It’s a 10-minute walk now from the nearest MRT station at City Hall,’ said a spokesman for ARA Trust Management, the manager of Suntec Real Estate Investment Trust.
Suntec City’s mall and some of its offices come under this trust.
‘With the two new stations, Suntec City is less than a minute’s walk away,’ the spokesman said.
She added that Suntec City is building a sheltered walkway linking Promenade station to an entrance of the mall, where the Carrefour hypermarket is located.
Commuters using the sheltered link can stop for food and drinks at two new outlets, Old Town White Coffee and Japanese food chain Shin Sapporo Ramen, while a new glass facade will make the entrance to the mall more prominent, she said.
Over at Millenia Walk, Japanese mall operator Parco will open its new department store on Wednesday.
Mr Shuichi Hidaka, Parco’s managing director, said accessibility to the Circle Line from Promenade station was an important factor in its choice of Millenia Walk.
The station will also be an interchange for the future Downtown Line that links the north-western and eastern regions to the city centre and Marina Bay, he noted.
The first phase of this line, from Bugis to Chinatown, is due to be completed by 2013.
Parco has lined up fashion shows for the weekend that the Circle Line stations will be opened, and a photo exhibition by Singapore-born, Tokyo-based photographer Leslie Kee later next month.
Also riding on the impending opening of the Circle Line stations is the National Heritage Board, which has several museums in the vicinity of Bras Basah station.
The new station is an alternative to City Hall or Dhoby Ghaut interchanges, which are about a 10-minute walk to the museums.
Entry to the Singapore Art Museum, National Museum of Singapore, Peranakan Museum and Singapore Philatelic Museum will be free next Sunday, the day the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will give commuters a preview of the 11 new stations.
Greater accessibility is one reason more commuters have been taking the Circle Line since five stations from Marymount to Bartley opened in May last year.
The initial figure of 30,000 commuters a day is up, to about 40,000 commuters daily today. This number is expected to grow to 200,000 when the 11 stations from Dhoby Ghaut to Tai Seng open next month, the LTA said.
It indicated that the waiting time for a train on the Marymount to Paya Lebar stretch will be at most 3.5 minutes from 7.30am to 9.30am, and seven minutes at other times.
But it will be a seven-minute wait all day for the section from Paya Lebar to Dhoby Ghaut stations, as the LTA projects much lower usage for this stretch.
Source: Sunday Times, 28 Mar 2010