The 1960s was an era of great economic changes for Singapore.
The city's leaders were convinced of the need to support the economy
with a reliable and efficient transport system to support nation
building. To this end, the government commissioned a State and
City Planning study in 1967 to study the possibility of expanding
the transport network. Amongst others, the findings of the four-year
study pointed to a need for a rail transit system by 1992.
As a result, feasibility studies were carried out between 1972
and 1980 to examine the possibility of building a rail network
supported by a network of buses. The rail system was to operate
through the most densely- populated areas and this resulted in
the conception of the east-west and north-south lines. To get
on with work, a Provisional Mass Rapid Transit Authority was established
in July 1980.
An independent team from Harvard University was engaged to reinforce
the initial recommendations for a rail system supported by a bus
network. However, debate soon ensued as the team recommended that
an all-bus network may be more feasible. To shed some light into
the matter, a Comprehensive Traffic Study was conducted in 1981.
Matters were soon back on track as the study confirmed that the
rail system was crucial and an all-bus system would impose severe
limitations on other road users.
In May 1982, the Government gave the go-ahead and work on the
construction of the MRT began. The S$5 billion project was targeted
to be completed in 1992. The 67 km-long route would boast 42 stations,
of which 27 would be above ground and 15 under ground. The north-south
line was implemented first as more people need to be ferried across
the busy Orchard corridor and the Central Business District. On
14 October 1983, the MRT Corporation was established and took
over the roles and responsibilities of the former Provisional
Mass Rapid Transit Authority.
Thousands flocked to experience travelling on the MRT when its
first section from Yio Chu Kang to Toa Payoh was opened on 7 November
1987. Then Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew¸ officiated the
launching of the system on 12 March 1988. The remainder of the
system was opened in stages and the final section was completed
in July 1990, two years ahead of schedule.
In February 1991, the Government announced its decision to extend
the MRT system to Woodlands. Work on this 16-km extension was
completed on 10 February 1996.
The need for a more co-ordinated approach to planning and building
land transport resulted in the formation of the Land
Transport Authority in September 1995. Borne through a
merger of several organisations and divisions, the new statutory
board comprised of the Mass Rapid Transit Corporation, the Registry
of Vehicles, the Roads and Transport Division of the Public Works
Department and the Land Transport Division of the Ministry of
Last Updated on 05/08/2008