📸 1: Commuters taking the train during official opening of the Yio Chu Kang-Toa Payoh line of the Mass Rapid Transit system on 7 November 1987
During Singapore’s early days of independence, public transport was limited to buses, taxis, and trishaws — all traveling on polluted, congested roads making journeys inconvenient and uncomfortable. In 1967, our city planners recommended building an MRT system but that required massive spending when we had other pressing needs, such as housing, defence, and education. The MRT proposition was approved only in 1981 after careful consideration of alternatives and pro and cons. It was the largest infrastructure project undertaken by Singapore at that time.
On 7 November 1987 #SingaporesFirst MRT station was opened in Toa Payoh, connecting five stations in the North-South Line section to Yio Chu Kang. By December 1987, nine more stations were added, allowing commuters to travel from Novena to Raffles Place on the North-South Line, and from Outram Park to Raffles Place on the East-West Line.
On 12 March 1988, then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew officially launched the MRT system, which saw the opening of another six stations from Tiong Bahru to Clementi on the East-West Line. Since then, the Government has been expanding our public transport network – trains, buses and walkways – to make public transport more convenient for Singaporeans, and reduce the reliance on cars.
The expansion of our MRT networks ensures that we would have a more resilient MRT infrastructure. Eleven more MRT stations along the Thomson-East Coast Line will officially open for passenger service on 13 November 2022, bringing even greater interconnectivity with our existing MRT lines.
“We started with five stations in one line 35 years ago. Today, we have 190 stations. And we continue to build,” said Transport Minister S Iswaran on 7 Oct 2022. “What we need to keep in perspective is the larger strategy of enhancing our MRT infrastructure, making public transport a very convenient and accessible form of commute for all Singaporeans, which is greener, which is also one that will … enhance the liveability of our city.”
As the most space-efficient way for large numbers of people to travel, Singapore’s public transport network has been crucial in helping us be #EvenBetter at managing our limited land space.
📸 2: Outram Park MRT station is one of the three-line interchanges of Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL). It joins the existing interchange station, linking up TEL to the East-West Line (EWL) and North-East Line (NEL).