SINGAPORE - Up to $1 million will be saved each year by keeping Mount Pleasant and Marina South MRT stations closed until housing developments around them are ready, said Transport Minister S. Iswaran on Wednesday (Jan 12).
This is because the two stations on Stage 3 of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) will be heavily under-utilised if they are opened together with the rest of the stations around them.
The remaining 11 stations, from Stevens to Gardens by the Bay, are slated to open later this year.
In a written reply to a parliamentary question filed by Mr Melvin Yong (Radin Mas), Mr Iswaran said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will work with land use agencies to closely monitor the pace of development in the areas surrounding Mount Pleasant and Marina South.
LTA will give an update on the opening dates of the two stations when ready.
News that the two TEL stations would be mothballed came in November last year - seven years after the contracts to build them were awarded.
This appeared to go against an earlier promise made in 2009 by then Transport Minister Raymond Lim that all completed stations on new MRT lines would be opened once trains started rolling.
Mount Pleasant and Marina South will both be fully built and then shuttered.
This promise had come off the back of uproar when Buangkok and Woodleigh stations on the North East Line (NEL) were shuttered for years due to a lack of development around them.
When justifying the mothballing of Buangkok and Woodleigh back then, SBS Transit had claimed potential losses could be as high as $3 million a year if the stations had opened with the NEL in 2003.
Both Mount Pleasant and Marina South stations will eventually serve new housing developments.
The former will serve a new 5,000-unit housing estate on the site of the Old Police Academy, and the first Build-To-Order project of the new estate is slated for launch some time within the next five years.
As for Marina South, there has been no mention of what is in store, but five plots of land north of the future station are zoned for residential use.