Downtown Line 3 (DTL3) will open on Oct 21, completing the third and final phase of the 42km Downtown MRT line that links the north-western and eastern housing estates to the old and new downtowns.
DTL3 spans 21km and covers 16 stations, running from Fort Canning through areas such as Jalan Besar and Bendemeer, before heading eastwards through Geylang Bahru, MacPherson, Ubi, Bedok North and Upper Changi, before ending at Expo station.
It will have an interchange with the Circle Line at MacPherson, and two others - at Tampines and Expo - with the East-West Line. When service starts, commuters will be able to travel from Tampines to Kaki Bukit in 10 minutes - less than half the 25 minutes it takes by bus today. From Expo to Fort Canning, the journey will take 35 minutes, versus 78 minutes by bus today.
By 2024, DTL3 will be extended by 2.2km to join the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line.
With DTL3, the 42km, 34-station V-shaped Downtown Line is now Singapore's longest underground driverless train system. The project started in 2007, when tenders for Downtown Line 1 were called. The construction of DTL3 involved some challenges, the biggest of which was diverting the Singapore River - twice - to build tunnels linking Fort Canning and Bencoolen stations.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote in a Facebook post yesterday: "With each new line and new stations, we try to make sure that we further upgrade their design, taking advantage of new technology and innovations. DTL3 is no exception. It has several notable features that are testament to the ingenuity of our engineers."
LEVERAGING ON TECHNOLOGY
With each new line and new stations, we try to make sure that we further upgrade their design, taking advantage of new technology and innovations. DTL3 is no exception.
TRANSPORT MINISTER KHAW BOON WAN, in a Facebook post yesterday.
For instance, Bencoolen station's ventilation shafts and cooling tower are integrated with the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts extension. "By doing so, we made the environment more pleasant and also made better use of land," he said.
At a pre-opening ride on DTL3 yesterday, Jalan Besar GRC MP Yaacob Ibrahim, who is Minister for Communications and Information, said the connectivity of the whole area would change dramatically. "I am very happy with this development," he said.
Potong Pasir MP Sitoh Yih Pin, who is chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, said: "Singaporeans will benefit enormously from this amenity."
He noted that DTL3 will serve 33 education centres and several housing estates, "with some flats right at the doorstep of stations".
Temasek Polytechnic student Brilson Lee, 18, said he "feels good" about having another transport option to and from campus. But the Serangoon resident said he will see how fast and crowded it is come Oct 21. "If Bus 129 (a semi-express service that goes to Temasek Poly via the Bartley viaduct) is faster, I will continue to use it."
DTL3 will also boost operator SBS Transit's bottom line. The average daily ridership for the first two stages was 245,000 in the first quarter of this year, up 19 per cent from the same time last year. When DTL3 is in full swing, total daily ridership is expected to go up to 500,000, and should make the line profitable. SBS Transit is hiring some 600 people to run DTL3, bringing its total Downtown Line staff strength to 1,300.