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Katong Park Is One Of Seven Mrt Stations In Stage 4 Of The Thomson East Coast Line Source Lta 1

Seven New Stations Open on Thomson-East Coast Line, Drawing Enthusiastic Crowds

The opening of the fourth stage of the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL4) on June 23 has brought significant excitement and convenience to commuters in the East Coast area. The new stretch, spanning 10.8 kilometers and consisting of seven stations, promises to transform daily commutes and enhance connectivity in the region.

A Game-Changer for Daily Commuters

Primary school teacher Gladys Ng, 55, is set to save both time and money on her daily commute from her condominium near Bayshore MRT station to her workplace near Great World station. Previously reliant on private-hire car rides costing around $20 each way, Ms. Ng’s journey on public transport involved two bus rides taking 1.5 hours. With the opening of TEL4, her travel time is reduced to about 52 minutes, allowing her to save on at least one private-hire car ride daily.

“I’m excited about the cost savings and the convenience. I can now use the new TEL4 line to get home faster,” said Ms. Ng, who was among the first 20 commuters to board the inaugural train from Bayshore MRT station at 6:16 am.

Positive Response from Early Riders

Other early adopters included Mr. Chua Kin Tong, 69, who took the train for his daily exercise class at East Coast Park. Typically driving to his destination, Mr. Chua tried the TEL4 to potentially save on parking costs, which amount to $3.50 per day. “If it’s convenient, I hope to switch to the train for my daily commute,” he said.

Madam Janice Lau, a resident of a nearby condo, expressed her excitement about the new station’s proximity. “It’s very exciting because it’s so near my home. It’ll be easier for me to get to all the places I usually frequent, like Gardens by the Bay and the city,” said Madam Lau.

Train Enthusiasts Among the First to Experience TEL4

Train enthusiast Chong Zu Heng, 20, arrived at Bayshore station at 4:50 am to be the first to set foot in the station as the shutters rolled up at 6 am. Chong, a student at the Institute of Technical Education, is fascinated by trains and was keen to observe the unique designs and features of each TEL4 station.

Primary school pupil Tan Teck Ern, 10, was also eager to be on the first train, driven to Bayshore station by his father from their home in Bishan. “The stations are more elderly-friendly, and the escalators have floor-level lighting to show you which direction they are moving,” he noted.

Boost to Local Businesses

The opening of the seven new TEL4 stations has been a boon for local businesses, particularly those near the stations. Marine Parade Central Market and Food Centre saw a significant increase in patrons during the public preview on June 21, with all tables filled and business jumping by about 30%.

Madam Winnie Lee, who has been selling economic bee hoon at Xin Long Cooked Food for six years, noted the surge in customers. “We don’t usually open on Sundays, but we decided to do so today because of the good response. If business is good, we might consider operating on Sundays,” she said.

Similarly, Ms. Zhang Jing, manager at Bakery Cuisine’s Marine Parade Central outlet, reported a 30% increase in sales on the preview day. “If business continues to improve, we will consider introducing new products and flavors,” she added.

Thomson-East Coast Line Map
Thomson-East Coast Line Map

Boost to Nearby Properties

The enhanced connectivity provided by the TEL4 is expected to boost property values in the surrounding areas. Homes near the new stations, such as those in the Bayshore and Marine Parade areas, are likely to see increased demand due to the improved accessibility and reduced travel times to key parts of the city. Real estate agents anticipate a rise in interest from potential buyers and investors, drawn by the convenience and lifestyle benefits that come with living near an MRT line. The list of properties expected to enjoy the boost are:

  1. Shenton Way – Marina View Residences
  2. Maxwell – TMW Maxwell
  3. Katong Park – Meyer Blue
  4. Tanjong Katong – Tembusu Grand, Emerald of Katong

Smooth Operations and Looking Ahead

SMRT station manager Chin Hong Wei, overseeing Tanjong Rhu station, confirmed smooth operations and manageable crowds on the first day of passenger service. His team has been preparing since August 2023 to ensure all systems, including lifts, public address systems, and air-conditioning, are functioning perfectly.

With Tanjong Rhu station near the National Stadium, which frequently hosts events, Mr. Chin’s team has established protocols to manage large crowds, including manpower allocation and equipment like queue poles and portable PA sets. “I definitely feel a sense of satisfaction, because I saw what the station was like from the start, and now commuters have given us good feedback,” he said.

The opening of TEL4 marks a significant milestone in enhancing Singapore’s public transport network, offering residents improved connectivity and convenience.

The Straits Times

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