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Old November 13th, 2007, 02:05 PM   #1401
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Need a cab in CBD? Get to a taxi stand
LTA to enforce new rule for safety reasons from March; 15 more taxi stands to be built
Straits Times, The (Singapore)
Home H1
November 13, 2007
Author: Maria Almenoar & Jessica Lim

FROM March next year, commuters will need to find a taxi stand if they want a cab in the Central Business District.

This includes areas like Orchard Road, Shenton Way, Raffles Place and Suntec City.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) yesterday announced the new rule, alongside stiffer new penalties for taxi drivers who do not stop for passengers, who tout or who overcharge. Misbehaving cabbies can lose their licence immediately in serious cases.

The ruling about taxi stands is meant to improve road safety, said the LTA.

With the introduction of more bus lanes within the city, it said, taxis are finding it harder to pick up passengers hailing them from the roadside. Plus, those who do stop in time for passengers may swerve in indiscriminately or suddenly, making it dangerous and disruptive to traffic flow.

So, instead of sticking their arms out and flagging a taxi from the kerbside, commuters will have to get one from a taxi stand - and even if you book one, it must pick you up at a stand.

The only exception is if residents within the city get taxis to pick them up within their private driveways.

The LTA will build 15 more taxi stands by the end of next month, bringing the total number to 95 in the city area.

Taxi stands will always be within a five-minute walk of any building in the CBD, LTA assured commuters yesterday.

Both taxi drivers and commuters seemed to welcome the new rule yesterday: Mr Adi Negara, 48, a taxi driver for the past 11 years, explained how stopping in the CBD can be a dangerous game.

'There are many bus lanes and it is difficult to stop, and if we do, we have to swerve through lanes.

'The taxi stands will help because commuters will know where to wait and we will know where to go.'

While commuters The Straits Times spoke to yesterday generally agreed that it would be safer, a bigger worry was if the taxis would come at all - whether at a stand or otherwise.

Mr Jeffrey Chan, 31, a wealth-management consultant who works in a building on Cecil Street, said that, already, most of his time at the taxi stand is spent watching the cabbies - with their 'On call' signs lit up - zip by.

He reckons seven out of 10 won't stop. Which already equates to 30-minute waits every night for his taxi home.

His sentiment was echoed by people polled last night.

It is more about increasing the supply of cabs during the rush hour to meet demand, say commuters.

Or upping the flag-down rate for cabs so more taxi drivers will want to stop at the stands, say drivers.

'If you charge passengers a one-time surcharge to take a taxi from the city, more cabs - after dropping passengers off in the suburbs - will be more willing to go back to the city,' said cabby Dicky Ong, 53.

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Copyright, 2007, Singapore Press Holdings Limited


What cabbies say about the new penalties


'We can drive non-stop but if traffic is bad, rental is high, oil prices go up, we make less. But we don't do dishonest things because what goes around comes around.'
- MR DICKY ONG, 40, who has been driving a taxi for 18 years


'Some drivers just want to make fast money. These penalties are good only if the LTA enforces them; if not, drivers will not be scared.'
- MR MICHAEL LOO, 58, a cabby for three years


'I think part of the problem is that there is demand for this type of 'service'. If people didn't accept such offers, these cabbies would just have to line up like the rest of us and pick up passengers.'
- MR THEN YUEN FAH, 40, who has driven a limousine cab for six months


'The motto should be: Pick and go. I don't ask where passengers are going because it is not fair. They stood in line after all. It doesn't matter near or far.

I was a passenger before, too, and I understand the frustration. I waited at Woodlands Checkpoint to go to Marsiling and the driver refused to take me. I sat in the cab until he agreed.'
- MR ADI NEGARA, 48, a taxi driver for more than 11 years
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Old November 13th, 2007, 02:09 PM   #1402
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LTA Introduces Measures To Improve Taxi Services

Stiffer penalties for errant taxi drivers
Taxi advisories for the public
More taxi stands within the Central Business District (CBD) / Street hail of taxis on CBD roads disallowed from 1 March 2008
Enhanced taxi QoS requirements fully phased in from 1 January 2008
Taxi Mystery Customer Audit kicked off
1 The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has introduced a slew of measures to improve taxi services. These include stiffer measures to deter errant taxi drivers ho solicit, overcharge or refuse to convey passengers.

Enforcement Operations Stepped Up

2 The LTA has intensified its enforcement activities at numerous entertainment "hotspots", such as Clarke Quay, Boat Quay, Orchard Towers, Sentosa, Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal and other places where errant taxi drivers take advantage of high demand for taxis during certain times to openly tout for business and overcharge their passengers, especially tourists.

3 The LTA is currently investigating about 80 taxi drivers who solicited for passengers, overcharged or refused to convey passengers in October/November 2007, some of whom are repeat offenders. The vocational licences of these recalcitrant taxi drivers will be suspended and revoked if they are found guilty.

4 The LTA will also raise the penalties imposed on taxi drivers who are found guilty of soliciting for passengers, overcharging or refusing to convey passengers without reasonable justification. This is to emphasise the seriousness of the offences and to protect the reputation of the majority of honest taxi drivers who abide by the rules.

Taxi Vocational Licence Point System (VLPS) Enhanced

5 With effect from 19 November 2007, taxi VLPS penalties for the offences of soliciting for passengers, overcharging and refusing to convey passengers will be enhanced. Fines and demerit points will be increased, and the commission of these offences will result in immediate suspension of the taxi drivers' vocational licence. A repeat of the offences of soliciting and overcharging within 24 months will result in the revocation of the taxi driver's vocational licence.

6 The details are summarised as follows:

VLPS Offence
Current VLPS Penalty
Revised VLPS Penalty

Refusing to convey passengers
$100 and 3 demerit points
$300 and 6 demerit points (immediate 2-week suspension)

Soliciting for passengers (touting)
$200 and 5 demerit points
$500 and 12 demerit points (immediate 4- week suspension)

Overcharging by less than $20
$200 and 5 demerit points
$500 and 12 demerit points (immediate 4- week suspension)

Overcharging by $20 or more
$500 and 21 demerit points (immediate revocation)
No change

7 The enhancements to the taxi driver disciplinary framework, otherwise known as the Vocational Licence Point System (VLPS), were made in consultation with taxi companies and taxi driver associations, who expressed support for the stringent measures against errant taxi drivers.

8 Mr Yang Ban Seng, Chief Executive Officer, Taxi Business, ComfortDelGro, whose companies operate more than 65% of the taxis in Singapore, said, "We are fully supportive of LTA's tougher penalties. This measure is timely and it will serve as a strong deterrent. It also supports the strict disciplinary actions that we have been taking against our errant drivers." Mr Lim Chong Boo, Managing Director of Premier Taxis Pte Ltd, said, "We support LTA's efforts to impose tougher penalties on recalcitrant drivers who blatantly flout the rules and affect the livelihood of our other colleagues". Mr Foo Chi Yong, Chairman of the Premier Taxi Operators' Association, added that "Our members had requested us to urge the LTA to help the taxi industry weed out these errant drivers that have damaged the reputations of all taxi drivers. We believe that these tougher penalties are necessary to restore the public's confidence in the taxi industry and have encouraged our members to report errant taxi drivers to LTA".

9 Mr Yam Ah Mee, Chief Executive of LTA, said, "LTA worked closely with the taxi companies and taxi associations to introduce these stiffer measures. We strongly urge taxi commuters to play their part by reporting errant taxi drivers to LTA. In this way, there will be no opportunity for taxi drivers to tout. In the meantime, LTA will continue to liaise with the taxi companies to better match supply and demand of taxis at the 'hotspots'."

Taxi Advisories for the Public

10 To raise awareness among taxi commuters that touting for passengers is an offence, advisories will be prominently displayed at taxi stands and at other "hotspots" from 1 December 2007. LTA will also encourage all taxi companies to display the advisories inside their taxis. The advisories will carry LTA's hotline number (1800-CALL LTA or 1800-225 5582) to make it easy for passengers, tourists and the public to give feedback or report errant taxi drivers.

11 Welcoming these measures, Mr Chia Hock Peng, President of the SMRT Taxi Operators' Association said, "These are timely measures and we support them. We hope the small number of errant drivers will take these deterrents seriously and stop giving the industry a bad name."

More Taxi Stands / Stops within CBD
Street Hail of Taxis on Roads within CBD Disallowed from 1 March 2008

12 Currently, there are 80 taxi stands or stops in the CBD. To improve taxi services within the CBD, LTA will install an additional 15 taxi stands by end December 2007, so that there will be a taxi stand within 300 metres or a five-minute walk from buildings within the CBD.

13 The LTA, together with the taxi companies and taxi driver associations, will identify more locations for taxi stands, to make it easier for commuters to hail a taxi from a taxi stand and to increase commuters' safety. This also reduces the incidents of taxis infringing onto bus lanes to pick up passengers or indiscriminately stopping and contributing to traffic congestion.

14 With more taxi stands within the CBD, street hail of taxis on roads within the CBD will be disallowed from 1 March 2008. From that date, taxis can only pick up or alight passengers at taxi stands and along private driveways, even when on call booking. In preparation for this new measure, LTA will coordinate with the taxi companies and taxi driver associations to encourage drivers to pick up passengers from taxi stands.

Quality of Service (QoS) Standards for Taxis Enhanced

15 The Taxi Quality of Service (QoS) standards were introduced in 2003 to monitor the performance of taxi companies in three areas, namely "Availability of Taxis via Radiophone Booking", "Safety" and "Customer Satisfaction". The LTA has since January 2007 extended the monitoring of taxi companies' performance on radiophone booking service by another three hours, from 5 pm - 8 pm to 5 pm - 11 pm.

16 The standards were introduced progressively to allow the taxi companies sufficient time to meet the full standards after one year. For the first six months of 2007, the standard was set at 70% for the radiophone booking service under the QoS standards. It was raised to 80% from July - December 2007. From 1 January 2008, the full Taxi QoS standards will be applicable to the taxi companies.

Taxi Mystery Customer Audit

17 As part of its on-going efforts to improve taxi services, the LTA also introduced a mystery audit of taxi services. The mystery audit is carried out on taxi trips taken by auditors and its findings will complement the feedback received through commuter surveys. The audits are conducted on a quarterly basis and assess taxi drivers on service attributes, conduct, driving skills and familiarity with routes.

18 The audit started in October 2007 and the results will be out in January 2008. With the audit findings, LTA will require the taxi companies and associations to improve taxi service standards so that commuters can experience a pleasant journey.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 02:27 PM   #1403
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Old November 13th, 2007, 02:36 PM   #1404
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MRT (Subway)
- 65 Stations (Now)
- 67 Stations (2009)
- 79 Stations (2010)
- 87 Stations (2011)
- 90 Stations (2013)
- 111+ Stations (2015 - 2018)

LRT (People Mover System)
- 33 Stations (+1 Station) (Now)
- 43 Stations (After 2010)

Copyright SBS Transit

Last edited by ignoramus; November 13th, 2007 at 02:48 PM.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 02:50 PM   #1405
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Copyright QX5216J @ sgforums
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Old November 13th, 2007, 04:35 PM   #1406
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Copyright QX5216J @ sgforums
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Old November 14th, 2007, 05:42 PM   #1407
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Farmway LRT station to open on Thursday
Posted: 14 November 2007 1719 hrs

SINGAPORE : Farmway LRT station on the Sengkang LRT West Loop will open for passenger service on Thursday.

SBS Transit said the opening of the station, which comes more than two-and-a-half years after the official commencement of the Sengkang LRT West Loop, was delayed because of the lack of housing developments in the vicinity.

The station will offer residents access to sports facilities when the adjoining Sports Complex is completed next year. - CNA /ls
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Old November 15th, 2007, 07:14 AM   #1408
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Nov 15, 2007
More than 700 SMRT buses undergoing mid-life upgrade programme

IN THE letter, 'SMRT found lacking when it comes to public bus improvements' (ST, Nov 5), Mr Muhammad Hazique Salahudin asked about SMRT's plans for new buses and when the older buses will be replaced.

We have recently started the mid-life upgrade programme for more than 700 SMRT buses. The upgrade is done in phases, and will be completed over the next eight years.

To date, over 100 buses have already been upgraded. To enhance customer service, SMRT is purchasing more than 130 new buses to replace the older ones. The first 66 buses which are wheelchair-accessible will be out on the roads next year.

SMRT is also mindful of the travelling needs of the aged and had introduced bendy buses since 1996. These buses can carry more passengers and are easier for the elderly to board and alight.

To meet commuters' travel demands, SMRT monitors ridership pattern and considers feedback from passengers and stakeholders. Several new services and enhancements to existing services were made. For example, to reduce passengers' travelling time from the north to the east of Singapore, we operated Service 969 plying between Woodlands and Tampines and Service 965 plying between Yishun and Sengkang. We also introduced express service 854E from Yishun to Bedok in April this year. In addition, starting this year, we extended the coverage for Service 966 so that Bukit Panjang residents can enjoy a faster and more direct service to Toa Payoh, Eunos and Marine Parade. Besides enhancing our basic bus services, SMRT also introduced premium bus services to provide passengers more direct and comfortable bus journeys.

The general public use buses as an essential mode of transport, complementing the MRT, which is the backbone of our public transport system. As a multi-modal transport service provider, SMRT is continually looking at ways to provide seamless journeys to enhance commuters' convenience. We will continue to deliver services that reduce travelling times while enhancing accessibility and passenger convenience.

We thank Mr Salahudin for sharing his thoughts with us.

Kuek Chor Ling (Ms)

Manager, Corporate Marketing and Communications

SMRT Corporation Ltd
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Old November 15th, 2007, 07:28 AM   #1409
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SBS Transit's Q3 profit dives 30% to S$10m due to GST hike
By Loh Kim Chin, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 12 November 2007 2337 hrs

SINGAPORE: SBS Transit has reported a 30 percent fall in third quarter profit to S$10 million.

This was on the back of a 5 percent increase in revenue to S$170 million.

The public transport operator blamed the weak performance on the 2-percentage point increase in the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The GST took S$2.6 million out of SBS Transit's profit.

For the nine months to September, profit rose 2.4 percent to S$41.6 million. This was despite SBS paying 20 percent less tax at S$7.5 million.

The decrease in taxation was due to the write-back of provision in deferred tax of S$1.1 million and a lower tax charge resulting from the 2-percentage point reduction in the corporate tax rate.

Overall, SBS Transit's rail operations generally improved, while their bus operations shrank.

Commenting on its outlook, the company said its bus turnover is expected to improve with the growth in ridership.

With the continued development along the North East corridor, rail turnover is also expected to grow.

- CNA/so
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Old November 17th, 2007, 10:25 AM   #1410
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Originally Posted by ignoramus View Post
SBS Transit's Q3 profit dives 30% to S$10m due to GST hike
By Loh Kim Chin, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 12 November 2007 2337 hrs

SINGAPORE: SBS Transit has reported a 30 percent fall in third quarter profit to S$10 million.

This was on the back of a 5 percent increase in revenue to S$170 million.

The public transport operator blamed the weak performance on the 2-percentage point increase in the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The GST took S$2.6 million out of SBS Transit's profit.
- CNA/so
One lucky thing about Canada is that GST is not charged on transit fares...and the transit agencies are working hard to get themselves excused from paying the GST (for purchases related to operations e.g. fuel, buses, spare parts)...

Imagine the GST on a fleet of $100,000 buses...and their spare parts...and the cost of fuel to operate them....

These days, every cent counts...

Cheers, m
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Old November 21st, 2007, 07:44 AM   #1411
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Nov 21, 2007
SMRT testing out Real-Time Bus Arrival Information System at bus stops

IN THE letter, 'SBS has the Nextbus service, where is SMRT's?' (Online forum, Nov 7), Mr Peter Lo mentioned that SMRT needs to improve its bus services.
SMRT is currently working with LTA on the trial of the Real-Time Bus Arrival Information System at bus stops.

As part of the trial, we are enhancing our existing Integrated Bus Operating System (IBOS) software to provide the estimated arrival times of our buses. Once the Real-Time Bus Arrival Information System trial is successfully carried out, we will consider extending the provision of arrival timings through other channels such as the Internet and mobile devices.

We thank the writer for the feedback.

Kuek Chor Ling (Ms)

Manager, Corporate Marketing and Communications

SMRT Corporation Ltd
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 07:46 AM   #1412
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Pool doubles as skylight for Bras Basah station
Straits Times, The (Singapore)
Prime News
22 November 2007

A NEW reflection pool sited between the Singapore Art Museum and Singapore Management University (SMU) is more than a water feature providing cool relief to passers-by.

The tennis court-sized pool is also a skylight for the Bras Basah MRT station, a five-level structure that goes 35m below ground - deeper than any MRT station here.

The skylight idea from local firm WoHa Architects allows the station to be used without artificial lighting in the day. At night, the lit station gives the open area in front of the SMU a surreal glow.

When sunlight streams through the glass roof, slanting side walls reflect it to deeper levels of the station.

Giving The Straits Times a tour of the station, the Land Transport Authority's Circle Line director Sim Wee Meng said the skylight will help make the commuting experience better.

'As soon as commuters come out of the train, they'd feel like they're already at the surface,' Mr Sim said.

The walls are clad in acoustic panels to minimise echoes, making the deep station less noisy.

The 70,000 litres of running water on the roof have more than an aesthetic role. The pool also helps to dissipate heat.

'If it was just plain glass without the water, it would get quite hot,' explained Mr Sim.

Being so deep, the station is served by 41.3m-long escalators - the longest in Singapore's rail network. Currently, the longest in operation are at Changi Airport MRT station, measuring 37.9m.

The Bras Basah station's expansive walls look bare now, but there are plans to project slide shows onto them.

There is still some work to be done before the station is completed. Electrical and signalling systems required to run the trains are being installed and testing of the systems is expected to commence in 2009.

The $6.7 billion 33.3km Circle Line is expected to open in stages from 2010. The first phase is likely to be a 5km stretch between Bartley and Marymount.

Although the city and eastern portions of the line are largely in advanced stages of completion, some stations - including the new Nicoll Highway and Dakota stations - are lagging behind.

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Copyright, 2007, Singapore Press Holdings Limited
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Old December 1st, 2007, 07:59 AM   #1413
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Sembawang E&C bags $463m deal to build Bayfront MRT Station
By Loh Kim Chin, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 30 November 2007 2220 hrs

SINGAPORE: Sembawang Engineers and Constructors has been awarded a S$463 million contract to build the Bayfront MRT Station in Marina Bay.

The Bayfront station is part of the proposed 40-kilometre Downtown MRT Line.

Sembawang E&C will be responsible for the underground construction of the station and two pairs of tunnels for the first stage of the Downtown Line.

The station is expected to be completed in time for the opening of the Marina Sands integrated resort in 2009.

It will serve as the interchange station between the Downtown Line and Circle Line.

Sembawang E&C is not new to MRT construction works.

It was responsible for the construction of a third of all MRT and light rail train stations in Singapore.

This includes the Changi, Newton and Lavender stations.

The Land Transport Authority, which awarded the contract, says physical works for the 4.3km Downtown Line 1 are scheduled to start later this year. - CNA/ir
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Old December 1st, 2007, 08:51 AM   #1414
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Last edited by ignoramus; December 1st, 2007 at 10:25 AM.
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Old December 4th, 2007, 04:33 AM   #1415
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Dec 4, 2007
More effective sign needed to reserve seats for elderly, handicapped in trains

I WOULD like to comment on the signs or messages found in buses and trains.
The signs read: 'Please offer these seats to those who need it more'. A Straits Times reader wrote to the online forum and corrected the grammatical error. The sign is of very little use because most commuters ignore it. Any attempt to change the sign with a grammatically correct one is a waste of time and money. A more effective sign should be put up.

In South Korea, the train operator reserves four seats in each train compartment. A simple message is put up. It reads something like this - 'These seats are reserved for those who are elderly, pregnant or physically handicapped'. The message is very useful and anyone who does not fall into any of the three categories will not dare to occupy any of the seats for fear of being mocked or laughed at. During peak hours, the seats are sometimes left vacant because of lack of qualifiers.

Our local train and bus operators should do likewise. Then, the problem of having some commuters pretending to read or sleep in order to ignore the presence of 'those who need them more' can be solved once and for all.

Quek Keng Teck
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Old December 4th, 2007, 05:16 AM   #1416
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Dec 4, 2007
Taxi fares likely to go up soon
Flag-down fare may hit $2.80, and the meter will jump faster, sources say
By Christopher Tan & Tracy Sua

TAXI drivers want it and their associations have asked for it, so all that remains is for the biggest taxi operator ComfortDelGro to go ahead and do it - raise taxi fares that is.

All the signs point to it happening, and soon. A year after the last increase, which saw the flag-down rate go up by 10 cents to at least $2.50 and peak period surcharge double to $2, sources say a bigger jump is imminent.

The flag-down fare is expected to rise by 30 cents, bringing the minimum starting fare to $2.80.

Newer taxis such as the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Magentis charge 20 cents more, so their flag-down rate should hit $3, The Straits Times understands.

Distance and time-based rates are also expected to change. Currently, the meter advances by 10 cents every 210m or every 25 seconds of waiting. After 10km, it jumps 10 cents every 175m.

Industry observers expect leading operator ComfortDelGro to make the first move this month, but the company has remained mum about its plans.

'Fare adjustment is a commercially sensitive topic, so we cannot comment on it,' ComfortDelGro spokesman Tammy Tan said.

For the past three weeks or so, the company - which has a fleet of 15,000 taxis - has been sending its cabs to have their meters adjusted.

Ms Tan said this was mainly to update the meters for next year's public holiday slots. There is a $1 surcharge for public holidays.

But The Straits Times understands the tweaks - taking around 20 minutes per cab - also include adding a chip to allow the metered fare structure to be adjusted wirelessly.

Taxi drivers have been calling for a fare hike for several weeks now, citing the higher cost of fuel and the two percentage point rise in the goods and services tax, which has raised their rental rate by an average of $50 a month.

Diesel at the pumps, after a discount, has risen by around 20 per cent since the last cab fare increase in July last year, raising fuel cost per cab by around $300 each month.

Member of Parliament Seng Han Thong, an adviser to the taxi operators' associations, said taxi fares should be pegged to the cost cabbies bear. He told The Straits Times two weeks ago that the taxi operators' associations have been lobbying for a fare rise.

'Although taxi drivers are always worried about losing business if fares go up too high...they still hope there would be a fare increase,' Mr Seng said.

Some quarters have called for fares to rise substantially to manage demand, so that commuters who need a cab will find it easier to get one.

Cabby Chew Lian Sheng, 37, said that is the 'only way to manage demand', since taxi companies are unable to put more taxis on the road because there are not enough drivers around.

Mr Chew said the flag-down fare should be between $7 and $10. 'There'd be a public outcry. But cabbies can earn a living with fewer trips.'

Mr Chew is also of the view that surcharges must be removed or at least, simplified, as they 'create an artificial market'.

Cabby Manjeet Singh, 62, said the flag-down fare should be $6 or $7. 'It's pathetic now,' he said. 'We should also abolish the surcharges - they are very confusing.'

Transport researcher and National University of Singapore lecturer Lee Der-Horng said simply raising fares would not solve all taxi woes. He said a 'package solution' was needed.

This includes having Electronic Road Pricing subsidies to encourage cabbies to go into the Central Business District; more designated taxi stands in the city centre; and simplifying surcharges.

Associate Professor Lee also suggested having 'a centralised call booking system...This way, passengers will just need to dial one number to get access to the pool of taxis from all taxi companies',

He said doing away with all surcharges may not be the answer. For instance, how can cabbies be encouraged to ply the 'graveyard shift' otherwise?

Nevertheless, he reckons the imbalance between demand and supply 'cannot be fully resolved'.

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Old December 5th, 2007, 07:09 AM   #1417
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Award Of Civil Contract For MRT Downtown Line/Circle Line Bayfront Station

1. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has awarded the civil works contract (C906) for the Downtown Line 1 Bayfront Station to Sembawang Engineers & Constructors Pte Ltd. The contract is valued at S$463 million.

Scope of Contract

2. The scope of the Contract covers the construction and completion of the Bayfront Station including associated tunnels. The Bayfront Station will serve as an interchange station for the Circle and Downtown Lines with the station's twin-stacked tunnels connected to the Marina Bay and Landmark Stations.

3. The northern end of the Bayfront Station tunnel will be designed and constructed by the developer of the Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort.

4. The Contract will also comprise the construction and completion of Bayfront Avenue linking Bay Bridge to Marina Boulevard.

About the Contractor

5. Sembawang Engineers & Constructors Pte Ltd is currently undertaking the construction and completion for Circle Line 5 West Coast, Pasir Panjang, Alexandra and Telok Blangah Stations, including the fit out works for Harbourfront Station.

Downtown Line

6. The Downtown Line is a 40km line that will facilitate direct travel from the northwestern and eastern areas of the island to the Central Business District (CBD) and Marina Bay. The Line will also provide a strategic transport link to support the development of the Marina Bay area. The Line, which will run largely underground with a fully automated system, will be built in three stages.

7. When completed in 2013, the 4.3km Downtown Line 1 rail transit system will link the East-West Line (EWL) Bugis Station to the North-East Line (NEL) Chinatown Station. It will have six stations in all: Bugis, Promenade, Bayfront, Landmark, Cross Street and Chinatown. Physical works for DTL1 is scheduled to commence end 2007.

Coming Up

Current - 64 Stations, 109.4km (Heavy Rail Only)
2009 - East West Line Boon Lay Extension (2 Stations, 3.8km)
2010 & 2011 - Circle Line (26 Stations, 33.3km)
2012 - Circle Line Marina Bay Extension (2 Stations)
2013 - Downtown Line Phase 1 (6 Stations 4.3km)
2015 & 2018 - Downtown Line Phases 2 & 3 respectively (27 Stations, 35.7km)
*Completion date subject to changes.

Last edited by ignoramus; December 5th, 2007 at 07:25 AM.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 07:24 AM   #1418
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Old December 11th, 2007, 03:36 AM   #1419
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Dec 11, 2007
Cab surcharge raised to meet demand in the city
By Maria Almenoar

TAXI fares will go up from Monday and people who want to catch a cab in the city during evening peak hours will see their fares rise the most.

They will pay between 18 per cent and 49 per cent more for a taxi ride home from the city from 5pm to midnight. Heading home to Ang Mo Kio from Orchard Road during these peak hours will cost about $14.35, up from $10.65 now.

Travel during off-peak hours, which will affect the bulk of passengers riding in the 23,000 cabs here, will go up by 10 per cent, said Singapore's biggest cab company ComfortDelGro, which announced its new fare structure yesterday.

It is raising flag-down rates by 30 cents to $2.80. Surcharges for peak period and late-night travel have also been adjusted.

Three of the other five cab companies say they will follow ComfortDelGro's lead to raise flag-down rates and up the distance- and time-based charges.

Only one charge is going down - the prime-time call booking fee will be lowered from $4 to $3.50.

Trans-Cab could not comment by press time while Prime Taxis said it will not raise flag-down rates for at least another three months.

One measure that drew attention was ComfortDelGro's move to raise the city surcharge as a way of ensuring its supply of 15,000 taxis better matches the demand for cabs, where and when they are wanted most.

Commuters will have to pay $3 for a cab in the city between 5pm and midnight from Monday to Saturday, up from $1 now.

ComfortDelGro said the higher surcharge will address the No. 1 complaint of commuters - long waiting times for cabs in the city in the evening.

Its spokesman Tammy Tan said: 'One reason for this is that many taxis leave the city centre for the suburbs and drivers find little incentive to drive all the way back to the city to pick up new passengers.'

The company dangled one more incentive to lure cabbies into the city area: It will refund cabbies the Electronic Road Pricing charges payable to get into the city - between 50 cents and $2 now - if they do not get a passenger within 15 minutes of passing the gantry.

Cabbies welcomed the news of the higher fares, especially as ComfortDelGro also said it is not raising rentals and will continue with its diesel subsidies. Cabbies pay between $70 and $125 in rent a day regardless of how much they earn.

Cabby Tony Pang, 58, said: 'Passengers will stay away initially - it's a knee-jerk reaction. But the increased fares will help us drivers a bit.'

Commuters like insurance agent Kenneth Tan, 27, will think twice about taking a cab now. 'It's going to be more costly but if I need to save time or get out of the rain, I might still take one.'
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Old January 25th, 2008, 09:33 AM   #1420
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Jan 25, 2008

Govt to spend $40b to expand rail network

Two new lines to double network length to 278km by 2020; first stage of Circle Line to open next year

By Christopher Tan

IN what could well be Singapore's most aggressive public transport infrastructure plans ever, the Government is spending $40 billion to double the MRT network by 2020.

By then, Singapore will have 278km of rail link, from 138km today. Its network density will rise from 31km per million residents today to 51km per million - surpassing what Hong Kong and Tokyo has today and comparable to current densities in places like New York and London.

Announcing these targets on Friday as part of a sweeping Land Transport Review, Transport Minister Raymond Lim said two new lines will be built - barely nine months after he gave the go-ahead to the $12 billion 40km Downtown Line.

One, the Thomson Line, runs to the left of and almost parallel to the North-east Line. It is 27km long and links Marina Bay in the south to Woodlands in the north. To be completed in 2018, it will have 18 stations, in places such as Ang Mo Kio, Kebun Baru, Sin Ming, Thomson and Kim Seng.

The other is the Eastern Region Line, which is a southern loop of the Downtown Line's eastern wing. It is 21km long and links Marina Bay to Changi. This line has 12 stops in places such as Tanjong Rhu, Siglap, Bedok South and Marine Parade, and is scheduled for completion in 2020.

'We expect our rail network to carry three times as many journeys, rising from today's 1.4 million a day to 4.6 million in 2020,' Mr Lim said.

Existing MRT lines will also be lengthened. The North South Line will dip towards Marina South, with one station, and should be ready by 2015. Elsewhere, the East West Line will go west to serve the Tuas Industrial Estate. Also to be ready in 2015, it is 14km long and dotted with five stations.

More immediately though, Mr Lim said residents can look forward to riding one stage of the Circle Line from middle of next year. This stage is a five-station section linking Bartley to Marymount, with interchanges at Serangoon and Bishan.

Completion of the Downtown Line has also been brought forward by two years to 2016.

These accelerated plans are just the beginning. Minister Lim revealed that the Government will be working towards a new financing framework for rail infrastructure that will see future lines being built sooner. Instead of assessing the viability of new lines in isolation, the Government will now evaluate its contribution to the entire network. As such, future MRT projects could be implemented 'a few years earlier... so long as the entire rail network remains viable'.

Like changes he announced for buses last week, the minister said the Government will introduce more competition to the rail industry. Operating contracts will be 10 to 15 years long, instead of the current 30-year tenures. This is to keep the operators on their toes so that they keep service standards high.

In line with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's promise that no one would be left behind, accessibility to wheelchairs and prams will likewise be speeded up. By 2010, access to MRT stations, taxi and bus shelters will be barrier free within a 400m radius. Because there are 4,500 bus-stops here, practically all walkways will be accessible to the handicapped, elderly and those using baby prams.

And by 2010, 40 per cent of public buses will be wheelchair accessible, with the rest to follow by 2020.

The minister took the opportunity to announce other transport-related initiatives during a visit to the Kim Chuan MRT Depot on Friday morning. These include:

• July: A single telephone number for booking a cab.

• March: Six-month trial for foldable bicycles to be allowed onboard MRT trains during off-peak periods.

• Next year: Better bicycle parking facilities at MRT stations, starting with Tampines and Pasir Ris.

• March: Road signs warning motorists of cyclists in popular bicycle routes.

• 2014: All taxis to meet Euro IV emission standards.

• 2020: All buses to meet Euro IV emission standards.

On what commuters can look forward to in the coming years, Mr Lim said: 'By 2020, people who live or work in the city and those who shop and find enjoyment there will be able to reach an MRT station within 400 metres on average, a mere five-minute walk.

'Travelling across the city will be a breeze, because we will have a dense network of MRT stations like what we see in London and New York today.'

He added: 'With a vast rail network and a bus network that works in partnership with rail, commuters will have fast and reliable connections that bring them where they want to go. A gamut of transport choices including premium buses, taxis and cycling among others, will enable different needs to be met.'

The Minister said as society evolves and people's needs change, Singapore's land transport offerings must keep pace as well as encompass the diversity of needs and aspirations.

'To achieve this, we will plan our land transport system around people, not the other way round. This then will be our touchstone in the planning of land transport policies going forward,' he promised.

(Click on bolded links for maps).

2 new MRT lines & 2 extensions by 2020

A new 27 km underground rail line will be built from Woodlands in the north, through Ang Mo Kio and down the Thomson corridor to the city centre.
It will be one of four more rail systems to be built by 2020, with the other lines bringing high speech access to areas like Marine Parade in the east and Tuas in the West.

Together, the four will extend the rail network from the current 138km of track to 278km by 2020.

When completed, moving within the city centre will be a breeze, with a train station every 400m, or a five minute walk away, said Transport Minister Raymond Lim on Friday morning when he unveiled part-two of the changes to the land transport system.

Thomson Line

From the heart of Marina Bay, the Thomson Line (or TSL) will travel northwards, through the Central Business District and up through Ang Mo Kio all the way to Woodlands connecting estates such as Sin Ming, Kebun Baru, Thomson and Kim Seng which do not now have a direct MRT link.

Easten Region Line

The Eastern Region Line (or ERL), from Marina Bay, will serve the residential estates of Tanjong Rhu, Marine Parade, Siglap, Bedok South and Upper East Coast, and link them to Changi in the east.

The TSL and the ERL together will add 48km to the rail network. The Government has given the go-ahead for the TSL to be built by 2018, and the ERL by 2020.

Mr Lim said the TSL and ERL will shorten journey times and significantly enhance the connectivity of the rail network. Commuters staying in Sin Ming, for example, can save 20 minutes out of their current 45-minute journey to the city, whereas a trip from Marine Parade to Marina Bay on the ERL would take about 20 minutes, almost as fast as travelling by car.

New extensions to North-South and East-West Lines

The North-South and East-West Lines will also be extended and should be completed around 2015.

The North-South Line, which now ends at the Marina Bay station in the south, will be extended 1-km southwards to serve upcoming developments in the southern Marina Bay area, such as the new cruise terminal in Marina South. The East-West Line will be extended by another 14km into Tuas.

Presently, a commuter who lives in Clementi and takes the MRT to work in Tuas has to alight at Boon Lay station and then take a 35-minute bus ride to get to his workplace. With the new Tuas Extension that brings the East-West line right into the heart of Tuas, more of the journey will be on the high speed MRT, reducing his journey time by 20 minutes.

Doubling of rail network by 2020

Mr Lim said the new rail lines will cost some $20 billion to build, over and above the $20 billion that government has already committed for the on-going Boon Lay Extension (BLE), the Circle Line (CCL) and the Downtown Line (DTL).

'The government has decided that all these rail projects are a necessary investment to ensure that our transport infrastructure meets the needs of a growing population and an expanding economy,' he said.

'Together with the rail lines now under construction, the new rail lines will double our network from today's 138km to 278km in 2020. We expect our rail network to carry 3 times as many journeys, rising from today's 1.4 million a day to 4.6 million in 2020.'

He added that many more people will be served by the MRT, and they will be able to use it to get to many more places.

The density of the rail network will increase by 60 per cent, from 31 to 51 km per million population by 2020, comparable to cities like New York and London, and surpassing Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Turning to the existing rail lines, Mr Lim said train ridership is increasing steadily and commuters have said that they are feeling the squeeze, especially on the North-South and East-West lines.

'Now, we are far from the crowded conditions of Tokyo trains, which Mr Norman Chong, a Singaporean who has lived in Tokyo for 10 years, describes as being 'so packed that bodies are crushed against one another.' He calls it his 'regular morning massage',' said the Minister. 'Other MRT users have likened the average peak period loading on our trains to an off-peak crowd in Shanghai.'

He said LTA is closely monitoring the passenger loading on trains.

To ensure a more comfortable ride for commuters, LTA has worked with the train operators to run 93 additional train trips per week during the morning and evening periods from February 2008 on the North-South East-West and the North-East lines. For commuters, this will mean less crowded trains and a reduction in waiting time by about 10 to 15 per cent during peak hours.

Additionally, the carrying capacity of the North-South and East-West Lines will be expended, with more trains to be added.

When completed in about four years' time, their carrying capacity will be increased by a further 15 per cent, and commuters can look forward to shorter peak waiting times of two minutes, compared to the current 2.5 to 4.5 minutes at stretches that experience heavy loading, and an even more comfortable ride, assured Mr Lim.

DTL 3 to be brought forward by 2 years

The Minister also announced that Stage 3 of the Downtown Line (DTL) will now be completed two years earlier - from 2018 to 2016 - to benefit residents of Bedok Reservoir and Tampines.

It will be ready just one year after that of DTL Stage 2 serving the Bukit Timah corridor.

Earlier opening of Circle Line in 2009

He also have another piece of good news.

The Circle Line (CCL), which was due to open from 2010 onwards, will now open its Stage 3 segment in mid-2009 to benefit residents in the north and north-east.

This CCL segment connects Bishan station on the North-South Line and Serangoon station on NEL and opens up multiple new connections for residents in the north and north-east.

With the CCL 3, Serangoon residents will take only 25 minutes to get to Yishun by transferring to the North-South line at Bishan station, compared to 45 minutes by bus or by taking the NEL all the way to Dhoby Ghaut before transferring to the North-South line.

As for residents staying in Marymount, Lorong Chuan and Bartley, they will enjoy more seamless and direct travel to the city and other parts once CCL 3 commences operation.

More Circle Line stations will be opened

Commuters can also look forward to more stations on the Circle Line. This will enhance the reach and connectivity of the Circle Line, and allow many more people to benefit from the MRT.

'We had earlier decided to build the Thomson and West Coast stations as shell stations and fit them out only when there are sufficient developments around them. As the pace of development around these stations is picking up, LTA will now fit out these stations and open them together with the other CCL stations,' said Mr Lim.

'To enhance the accessibility of the Marina Bay area to the rest of the island, LTA will also build and open the Marina Bay station as part of the CCL extension beyond Bayfront station in 2012.'

'With all these developments that I have highlighted, commuters can look forward to new extensions or stages of new lines opening almost every other year until 2020.'

Platform screen doors for all above-ground MRT stations by 2012

PLATFORM screen doors will be installed at all above-ground MRT stations by 2012 to enhance the safety of rail commuters and reduce the incidence of track intrusions.
Transport Minister Raymond Lim said on Friday that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has been studying the feasibility of installing platform screen doors on above-ground MRT stations.

Speaking during his visit to Kim Chuan depot on Friday morning, he said: 'With platform screen doors being adopted in more transit systems worldwide, their cost has fallen, making them more cost-effective now.'

He said the incidence of people entering the train track area of above-ground MRT stations has risen from an average of 16 cases a year to 30 in 2006, and 31 in 2007. Besides endangering lives, such incidents disrupt train services and inconvenience many commuters, especially during peak hours, said the minister.

'We will therefore install platform screen doors at all above-ground MRT stations, so that commuters can have safer and more reliable train services.'

LTA will carry out a pilot at Yishun, Jurong East and Pasir Ris stations in 2009 to ensure that operational considerations are met, before rolling this out to all stations by 2012.

Speech by Transport Minister available here.
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