PICTURES

Downtown Line Stage 1 officially opened by PM Lee

Visitors walk out of the train at Chinatown station along the new Downtown Line 1 on Dec 7, 2013. The first stage of the new Downtown Line was opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Dec 21, and the public will be able to start riding on the 4.3k
Visitors walk out of the train at Chinatown station along the new Downtown Line 1 on Dec 7, 2013. The first stage of the new Downtown Line was opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Dec 21, and the public will be able to start riding on the 4.3km line from Dec 22. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong taking a guided tour on the linkway that connects the existing Bugis station and the new Bugis station along the new Downtown Line on Dec 21, 2013. With him were (from left) Land Transport Authority (LTA) deputy chief e
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong taking a guided tour on the linkway that connects the existing Bugis station and the new Bugis station along the new Downtown Line on Dec 21, 2013. With him were (from left) Land Transport Authority (LTA) deputy chief executive of infrastructure and development Chua Chong Kheng, LTA senior group director for rail Sim Wee Meng, LTA chief executive Chew Hock Yong and LTA group director corporate communications Tammie Loke. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong taking a ride along the new Downtown Line on Dec 21, 2013. With him are (from left) Land Transport Authority (LTA) deputy chief executive of infrastructure and development Chua Chong Kheng, Senior Minister of State for
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong taking a ride along the new Downtown Line on Dec 21, 2013. With him are (from left) Land Transport Authority (LTA) deputy chief executive of infrastructure and development Chua Chong Kheng, Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outside the new Marina Bay Downstown station on Dec 21, 2013. With him are (from right) Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, Land Transport Authority (LTA) deputy chief executive of infrastructure and development Chua Chong
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong outside the new Marina Bay Downstown station on Dec 21, 2013. With him are (from right) Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew, Land Transport Authority (LTA) deputy chief executive of infrastructure and development Chua Chong Kheng (partially hidden), LTA chief executive Chew Hock Yong and LTA chairman Michael Lim. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong taking a ride along the new Downtown Line on Dec 21, 2013. With him are Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong taking a ride along the new Downtown Line on Dec 21, 2013. With him are Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

The first stage of the new Downtown Line was opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Saturday morning and the public will be able to start riding on the 4.3km line from Sunday.

Speaking at the opening ceremony at Downtown station, PM Lee said this first stage marks the beginning of plans to double the rail network to 360km by 2030. He noted that the Government is continuing to invest in public transport infrastructure to make Singapore a better home and raise the quality of life. In the immediate term, 16 new bus routes and 111 existing bus services have been improved through the ongoing Bus Service Enhancement Programme, he said.

The Government is also investing more resources into maintaining and servicing existing train infrastructure, and this has improved service and reliability standards, he added.

The six stations along Downtown Line Stage 1 are Chinatown, Telok Ayer, Downtown, Bayfront, Promenade and Bugis. Downtown Line Stage 2, which runs from Bukit Panjang along the Bukit Timah Road corridor, will be ready in 2016 while Stage 3 in the east will open in 2017. Once fully completed, the 42km Downtown Line will be the world's longest driverless underground MRT line.