The Hume MRT station, currently a “shell station” on the Downtown Line, will be opened by 2025, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary in Parliament on Thursday (7 March).
However, he rejected a call by Nominated Member of Parliament Arasu Duraisamy to build a new MRT line to serve the Tuas South industrial area, as well as connect to the Jurong Island.
New developments warrant opening of station
Speaking during the debate on the budget for the Ministry of Transport, Puthucheary said the Hume station was not opened together with the other second-phase Downtown Line stations in 2015, as the pace of developments and ridership growth in the area did not warrant it being put into service then.
Since then, new development plans have been made, such as the redevelopment of the Rail Corridor and the transformation of the nearby Bukit Timah Fire Station into a gateway for the surrounding nature and heritage attractions.
“With all these, there will be sufficient ridership to justify opening Hume Station,” Puthucheary said in his reply to South West Mayor Low Yen Ling, who has repeatedly appealed for the Hume station to be opened.
When she asked if the station could be ready before 2025, Puthucheary said work still had to be done to complete the station. Also, the opening of the station needs to coincide with developments coming up in the area.
He added, “In deciding which areas to extend our rail network to, we will have to balance between managing costs and benefitting the most number of Singaporeans possible, taking into account the characteristics of each area.”
Not enough ridership to Tuas South
As such, he rejected NMP Duraisamy’s call to study the feasibility of a new MRT line to serve Tuas South and Jurong Island.
Duraisamy, the general secretary of the Singapore Port Workers’ Union, pointed out that several businesses operating in Tuas South — including companies dealing in biomedical parts, ship-building, electronic, logistics and petrochemicals — would benefit from an MRT station. New businesses will also spring up with the opening of the Tuas megaport, which is targeted for completion by 2040.
However, he noted that the area’s nearest MRT station is Tuas West station, which is 12 to 13 kilometres away.
In response, Puthucheary said there is not enough ridership in the near to medium term to support an MRT line in the Tuas South area. However, his ministry has taken steps to improve bus connectivity to the area, with two new public bus services 247 and 248 launched when the Tuas West MRT Extension was opened in June 2017.
“When the Jurong Region Line and the Cross Island Line are completed, workers in Tuas South will also benefit,” he added.
No added convenience in putting a station in Jurong Island
As for Jurong Island, there are also no plans to extend the MRT onto the island itself. Puthucheary pointed out that workers will benefit from the future Jurong Pier Station on the Jurong Region Line, which is located only a short distance away from Jurong Island Checkpoint.
He said, “If we were to put a station on Jurong Island itself, it is unlikely to create any added convenience or time savings because the workers would still need to go through the Checkpoint security, and transfer to an onward last-mile shuttle to their final destination, given how spread out the developments are on the island.”
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