Govt may shut down Bukit Panjang LRT for at least 3 years: Khaw Boon Wan


The Government is reportedly considering a years-long shut down of the Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) line, among other options.

This was revealed by Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan at a press conference yesterday evening. He said:

“If we want to do serious upgrading — essentially to close it down so that we can re-do the whole tracks and so on, so that we don’t have these ups and downs. And we’re evaluating that proposition.”

In Parliament earlier this month, Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng revealed that the government now plans to completely overhaul the BPLRT system. Telling Bukit Panjang commuters to brace for disruptions and shorter operating hours, Ng added the contract to overhaul the system will be awarded in the first quarter of 2018:

“In the immediate term, LTA and SMRT are carrying out detailed checks of the LRT’s power rails and performing hotspot replacement works where needed… LTA will also install a new power source at Ten Mile Junction substation to provide a backup to the existing system at Choa Chu Kang.”

Khaw’s latest announcement appears to indicate that a complete shutdown of the system may be instated for several years to carry out rectification works of the problematic line, instead of shorter operating hours or other interim options.

Khaw, however, acknowledged the challenges that would come with such a decision:

“If I put you in our position, I think you’ll be hard put to think whether ‘should we do it?’. Because how can we deny the residents three years (of) LRT service, so that we can re-do the LRT?”

The Minister also noted the constraints limited non-service hours would put on workers and asked with regards to just instating shorter operating hours: “In our case, do you think we can do that?”

This is not the first time that the government has considered suspending the BPLRT.

In October 2016, SMRT revealed that one option that was being considered to transform the Bukit Panjang LRT line completely was to scrap the network completely and return to the use of buses.

The LTA, however, said then the idea was “not likely to be practical.” Several parliamentarians also opposed the option at the time, adding that such a move would increase road congestion in the area and reduce comfortable access to town centres such as Chua Chu Kang in greater comfort than buses.

Khaw said in November 2016 that the LRT network would be overhauled instead of being ditched.

This new comment by the Minister, that the line may be suspended for a few years, has attracted criticism online.

Former presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian said, “It is disappointing to see Singapore in this ridiculous state.”:

“There must be something seriously wrong with our Ministry of Transport and the Land Transport Authority.
“It is surprising that an upgrading of the Bukit Panjang LRT line will take 3 years. We are now used to very poor standard of competence, but this is stretching the limit.
“If we have to close down the LRT for upgrading work, it should not pose any issue. We only need to have feeder buses to run the route of the LRT
“The minister may exaggerate the difficult of the job and maybe 70% of the public will believe him, but he is just trying to pull a fast one.
“It is disappointing to see Singapore in this ridiculous state.”

Social commentator Andrew Loh said this is “a huge screw-up”:

“S$285 million down the drain. Again, not a single top rank is going to be held accountable. Do you see Mah Bow Tan taking responsibility?
“Mind you, this is a huge screw-up.
“They hurriedly spent taxpayers’ money to built the entire BPLRT because they wanted to win votes, as residents were pissed about the lack of transport options at that time, and it was becoming an election/political issue.
“Shall we get the Auditor-General to recover the money spent to buy votes?”


  1. So they repair the LRT for 3 years under political pressure in time for the next election. Then the cycle repeats again.. this is ridiculous ! We are indeed in an extremely sorry state of Singapore. Why don’t he just resign and we are better off without a transport minister. Useless idiot!

  2. They will replace the whole system but dare not say it. So they talk about upgrading etc. Replacing the whole LRT line will be cheaper and faster than doing upgrading which will take much longer, more expensive and might not give the same performance as a completely new replacement line. Have the courage to say and do it KBW. I will not take royalty or credit for it. Just improve it for the benefit of my countrymen!

  3. yes thats good but it shld have been done yrs ago ,we have so many empty buses lying around along bt panjang and choa chu kang estate ,there is 5.5 billion dollars of buses being installed by the Gov but unfort most buses mostly double deck buses are going empty on the road which is a big waste of resources to the gov.

  4. if you need to shut down the Bukit Panjang LRT system for 3 years to perform what stupid upgrade and repair, then how about the MRT system? shut it down for 50 years in order to fix it? this fella really is 无路用!小小轻轨列车要关闭三年去维修,地铁系统岂不是要用50年. 拿那么多钱却什么也做不好,纳税人有权力骂你是个饭桶!

  5. Really disappointed with this government.. Reserved Presidency, Oxley saga, MRT Breakdown, Marsiling Yew Tee By Election, LRT Overhaul, Public hospital beds constraint.

    What other more “Surprises” are you giving us ? I am therefore convinced that TCB MUST be there to scrutinize this incompetent government..

  6. Can we dump the parliament for three years and have a fresh election in the meanwhile? Or can we give the commuters three years free ride while they revamp the lrt???? It’s time to wake up Singapore…do you have to take this nonsense in ultimate terms???? If you do, you are completely idiots…and you deserve to be called Daft completely…没药可医。。

  7. Better demolish and you resign along as well.
    Mrt track east West line upgrade completion already but if I recall correctly, you said complete upgrade of all the track will compete till next and next election
    Wow so smart, this will ensure your golden rice bowl last till two elections, ordinary, simple and naive citizens also understand your words cause WE ARE NOT STUPID, especially me, local 100% born and breed Singaporean

  8. I would think The Ministry of Transport and the Land Transport Authority needs to be shut down and do a complete overhaul instead. These people at the top are doing F***s and getting paid by the millions. We don’t need 3 years to revamp the Ministry and Stat board do We?

  9. A good idea of shutting down the LRT, but how come not the East, North or West bound line being shut down first? Thought those are more important than any sub lines as they have been breaking down in the past years, and the commuters have been frustrated about it? If want to do, give it the best shot man!

  10. 武吉班让轻轨列车当年因为政治压力而建造,什么是”政治压力” ?我想不通 ?也搞不懂 ?政治压力从何处来 ?

    现在要关闭三年进行翻新,这翻新费用肯定是需要不少的资金,翻新之后是不是可以更好的运作,谁也不敢保证 !

    我的意见是把武吉班让的轻轨列车拆除,再重建,因为翻新和重建—样要花上大笔资金 !