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Speech by Mr Yeo Cheow Tong at the Opening of the Expo MRT Station on 10 January 2001

10 Jan 2001 Speeches

        I am happy to be here this morning to celebrate with you the opening of the Expo MRT station.

Striking Design Features

2.     With its unique architecture and design, this new MRT station certainly stands out from the others. When I first visited this station two months ago, the first thing that caught my eye was the futuristic design --- the overhanging spaceship-like roof and the main elliptical roof that sweeps across the station platform.

3.     And here, inside the station, the generous use of glass and metal provides plenty of natural lighting and ventilation, giving one a feeling of spaciousness. The contemporary design truly reflects the thriving world class city that we want to build for the 21st century, and the crucial role that this station will play in supporting the Singapore Expo. I am sure this station will in no time become a landmark in our MRT network.

Connecting Changi

4.     With the opening of the Expo station today, SMRT will start operating a shuttle service at an average frequency of 15 minutes between the Tanah Merah and Expo MRT stations. The shuttle service will connect businessmen, international conference and exhibition organisers, traders, workers, Singaporeans and visitors alike to the Singapore Expo, the Changi Business Park and Changi South Industrial Park.

5.     SMRT will deploy more trains when demand is expected to be high, eg, during weekends or when there is a major event at the Singapore Expo. The MRT trains will be able to transport up to 17,000 passengers per hour to the Expo station to meet the demands of a major conference or exhibition.

6.     The Expo station itself is also ready to cater to the large number of visitors expected. It has a very spacious column free platform, 17 faregates, three escalators and a lift. From the station, there is also a direct access to the Singapore Expo for the convenience of users.

7.     The Expo station is thus set to become an important transport node as well as the gateway to the surrounding developments. When the Changi Airport station opens in early 2002, SMRT will operate a through service starting from Boon Lay station and ending at Changi Airport station. Commuters to the Singapore Expo and Changi Airport will therefore be able to enjoy a faster and more convenient MRT service.

Commitment to Infrastructure Development

8.     The opening of the Expo station is also significant as it reflects, once again, the Government's commitment to provide the necessary infrastructure and facilities to support the country's economic development. In this case, LTA has expedited the completion of Expo station, ahead of the completion of the MRT extension to Changi Airport. This further enhances the attractiveness of the Singapore Expo, and will contribute to the growth of the exhibition industry.

Rapid Transit System Development

9.     A world-class public transport system is indispensable in land-scarce Singapore. We now have an efficient and affordable rapid transit system (RTS) that can move large numbers of people quickly, comfortably and with relatively little environmental impact. As we do not have the land to significantly expand our road network, the government will continue to focus on extending the rail network.

10.   LTA is already working on several new RTS lines. Work on the North East MRT line (NEL) is on track. LTA completed the tunnelling for the entire 20-km stretch of the line in mid December, when the last tunnel from Clarke Quay station broke through to Dhoby Ghaut station. With the completion of tunnelling works and the main structural works, LTA will now concentrate on fitting out the stations for architectural finishes and the installation of electrical and mechanical works.

11.   The three years of excavation works, road realignments and traffic diversions have created a fair bit of inconvenience to residents and road users along the northeast corridor. I am sure the people affected by the construction activities will be glad to know that normalcy will be returning soon.

12.   LTA will expand the rapid transit system network to 145 kilometres by 2006, compared to the 91 km today. By that time we should see the completion of the North East Line, Changi Airport MRT Extension, Marina Line and the Sengkang and Punggol LRT systems.

13.   The building of five railway lines on a concurrent basis is a major challenge. The five lines are being built at a cost of $7.8b. This is a very significant financial commitment for any country. We have been able to afford such heavy investments on a quality national infrastructure only because our political and social stability has enabled us to focus on economic development and growth. If our nation can continue to develop and prosper, then we can continue to afford investing heavily for the benefit and convenience of our people.

Operator's Role

14.   But while the Government can put in place the physical infrastructure, it is the operators who will have to provide the service that will meet the needs of commuters. As commuters' expectations grow with the rising standard of living, SMRT will need to ensure that the quality of its service is better able to meet the rising needs of its customers.


15.   With good infrastructure, a comprehensive land transport network, excellent customer service, I am confident that, we can build a city which all Singaporeans will be proud to call home and which will be attractive to visitors and investors alike.

16.   I would also like to take this opportunity to commend all those involved in the construction of the Expo station for their excellent work and accomplishment. This station will stand out like a beacon for its functional excellence, with a design that is elegant and yet visually stunning.

On this note, it is my pleasure to declare the Expo MRT station open.