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MRT was ‘too big’ and ‘too luxurious.’

MRT was ‘too big’ and ‘too luxurious.’

I personally like our MRT and has taken it slightly over 10 times since it first started. I have also taken my family on it once. As per one latest number, there are now 130,000 people taking the MRT nowadays. This is less than half the number needed to break-even. I think it will take time because we could see empty land along some of the stations. LRT is however extremely popular and trying to get into the first train during peak hours is going to take lots of luck. I always believe connectivity is the key to new property locations and not the other way round. Imagine the hassle to build tracks through established neighbourhoods. Below is a view from a builder.

Article in Edgemarkets.com here.  Gamuda group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling said that the cost involved for the MRT were too big for a project that will only see full ridership after 20-30 years. However, he said that Gamuda’s role as project delivery partner (PDP) in the project was to deliver the project as per the previous government’s request. He said, “We agree with the comment that it is too big and too luxurious. But our responsibility is to manage the project delivery for the government — the size and number of stations were all decided by the government.” Article in Edgemarkets.com here.  

We should also understand that public infrastructure is a need and may not be that easily translated into the usual profit and loss. Just for everyone’s understanding, everyone’s taking the MRT in Singapore day in and day out. For FY2018, it has declared a loss of S$86 million and requires government subsidy to continue its operations. Here’s that article in StraitsTimes.  It’s important to note that beyond just ‘encouraging’ people to take the MRT, the only reasons for the success of public transportation is through government policies too. Parking rates are prohibitive in Hong Kong CBD while it’s prohibitive to buy a car in Singapore. This was why I wrote this article for Penang’s LRT plans too. Seriously, are we ready with the right policy? Happy understanding. 

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Written on 7th Dec 2018

Next suggested article:  Premium due to MRT stations? Some thoughts

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