The Straits Times
Published on Feb 23, 2013

Why private estates need MRT stations as well


MR ABEL Tan doubts that the new MRT lines will alleviate present congestion issues because they run mainly through wealthy low-density private estates where residents drive cars, or run parallel to highways, or else do not ply the Central Business District ("Will expanded MRT network help to ease congestion?"; Feb 14).

Almost all HDB estates already have an MRT line serving residents and, through the principle of egalitarianism, we should not begrudge private estates from being similarly facilitated, especially when these estates seem to be the last in line for government perks such as upgrading and transportation provision.

Even if private-estate residents can afford their own private transport, would an MRT line not be effective in easing congestion on the roads, since the convenience of public transport could convince people to give up driving?

Highways are aplenty on our island, but to assume that getting on them assures drivers of a smooth and cheap ride into the CBD does not factor in the headache-inducing jams and punishing road tolls. Many drivers would gladly give up their wheels if hassle-free rail commuting avails itself.

Ultimately, all the MRT lines that ramify the island will lead to the CBD via connecting nubs. Let's not quibble over whether the lines are direct thoroughfares to the CBD.

As it is, congestion on MRT trains leading to the CBD can be improved with better signalling technology that allows express trains to operate during the rush hour, or by increasing the frequency of trains - strategies that I believe the Land Transport Authority is working on.

Yik Keng Yeong (Dr)