Why experienced local operator is preferred for TEL

Local rail operators have been working closely with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to improve rail reliability ("Familiarity with rail operations doesn't mean ability to cope" by Mr Gabriel Cheng Kian Tiong; Nov 9).

The distance travelled by trains within the MRT network before a delay of more than five minutes has improved considerably, achieving a threefold jump from 58,000 train-km in 2011 to 158,000 train-km in the first six months of this year.

The LTA will continue to work with the operators to further improve rail reliability.

The Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) is our most complex rail project to date. It will open in five stages over a number of years, and will be developed in tandem with multiple other projects.

This is why we have adopted an approach different from the public bus industry.

Given these complexities in the ramp-up phase of the TEL, it is preferable that we have an operator which is experienced in local rail operations. We do not preclude the possibility of opening it up to foreign operators in the future, when the line has stabilised.

Ong Hui Guan

Deputy Group Director

Policy and Planning

Land Transport Authority

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 21, 2016, with the headline 'Why experienced local operator is preferred for TEL'. Print Edition | Subscribe