all along the Northeast corridor have
looked forward to the NEL for a long time.
That is why the opening of the NEL is an
occasion for celebration. Overall, LTA and
the operator - SBS Transit - have done an
excellent job, completing an extremely
complex project within budget, with only
slight delays to an ambitious timetable.
a project of this magnitude, there are
bound to be hiccups and teething problems.
We should attend to them and sort them
out, but we should not let them cloud our
perspective of the whole project, which
overall is a great achievement and a boon
hope you will not mind me mentioning on
this happy occasion one problem which has
attracted extensive attention over the
last few weeks, and that is Buangkok
need to separate two issues: the substance
of the decision, and the handling of the
problem. On the substance, the delay in
the opening of the Station is the right
decision. There are not enough
developments within the primary catchment
area of the station to justify opening it.
gather that some residents living near
Buangkok station were thinking of bringing
a statue of a white elephant to the
station as a gift when the trains started
running. Luckily they did not do that,
because if we had opened the station, and
then found it empty of commuters with
staff manning it and lights and air
conditioning running, the residents would
have needed to bring an even bigger white
given that we could not open Buangkok
station, we should have handled the issue
much better. We should have prepared the
residents living near the station early,
and explained to them the problem and why
we had to defer the opening.
the residents were left thinking that the
station would open, till just a few days
before trains started running. So it is
not surprising that they feel disappointed
and short changed. The MP and grassroots
leaders too, have been embarrassed,
because they had earlier reassured the
residents that the station would open.
This is most unfortunate.
am sorry the matter has turned out this
way. We will make sure that we do not
repeat these mistakes, and do better next
time. The question is now how we can solve
the problem. One step is to provide
adequate feeder bus services, so that
residents have good connections to the
interchange and to other NEL stations.
This has been done.
priority is to build up the population
around Buangkok station quickly, so as to
create enough traffic to justify opening
it. As the Minister for National
Development has promised, HDB will give
priority to building flats around Buangkok
station. LTA's estimate is that once there
are about 2,000 housing units around
Buangkok, it can justify opening the
station. Hopefully we will be able to
reach this critical mass within 2 to 3
Singapore Government Press Release 28 Aug