Govt, operators & commuters must share responsibility to make public transport financially sustainable

With park connectors, the Thompson-East Coast Line and emission-free Electric Vehicles (EVs), it is becoming easier to get around the island faster and in a more sustainable way.

But the PAP Government is not stopping efforts to keep Singaporeans moving.

During Day 6 (Mar 3) of the Committee of Supply debate, Minister for Transport S Iswaran shared Government plans to gear the transport sector up for growth, with capacity, capability and sustainability being main priorities.

The Minister, true to Party core attributes, also shared how long-term planning will give future generations of Singaporeans sustainable public transport as well.


Transport infrastructure capacity, always a main focus of the Government, is “progressing well”, shared Minister Iswaran.

“In January, we held ground-breaking ceremonies to commence work on the Jurong Region Line and the Cross Island Line,” he said.

“We are on course to expand our rail network by a further 100km over the next decade, with eight in ten homes within a ten-minute walk of train stations.”

Also on track (and taking off and setting sail): The Johor Bahru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) railway which will be completed by end-2026, Changi Airport Terminal 5 being operational in the mid-2030s and Tuas Port by the 2040s.

In particular, Tuas Port will handle more than 40 million TEU containers. That, notes, will more than double Singapore’s current container throughput, even while our tiny island is already the world’s busiest container transhipment port.

By the way, what about that Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR)?

“As for Mr Gan’s question on a possible HSR link, I would like to reiterate what we have said before that Singapore remains open to discussing any new proposal from Malaysia, starting from a clean slate,” said Minister Iswaran.


Singaporeans will benefit from this stronger transport sector in more ways than smooth journeys.

“We will invest in our workforce, redesign jobs and deepen skillsets,” shared the Minister.

“Our upcoming rail lines will create about 800 good jobs and we will use the Rail Manpower Development Incentive to equip our workers for these jobs.”

Over 2,900 Singaporeans have already been trained in skills such as data analytics and condition-based monitoring since 2020. Another $12 million to this transport skills effort is forthcoming this year.


Growth needs to be sustainable. For the transport sector, electrification is driving this great green shift.

About 11.8 per cent of new cars registered were electric in 2022, up nearly fourfold from 2021.

This is thanks to the Government disallowing conventional cars and taxis from being registered starting 2025, and making it cheaper to own an EV with schemes like the Additional Fiat Component and the Early Adoption Incentive, and equipping one-third of HDB carparks with EV charging points by end 2023.   

Bus fleets, too, are on track to be 50 per cent electric by 2030. And where 20 per cent of airside vehicles in Changi Airport are electric today, they will all be by 2040.

Building transport capabilities is a long-term journey

And Minister Iswaran held true to the PAP core attribute of being far-sighted during his speech.

In this case, he explained how Singapore’s public transport system needs to remain financially sustainable.

And that tripartite work (not short-sighted raids on the reserves, adds) will achieve this long-term aim.  

As he rightly said:

“While we aspire to have a high-quality, world-class public transport system, we must also ensure financial sustainability — and this is the shared responsibility of Government, operators, and commuters. Where we land on the balance between quality, affordability, and financial sustainability, is driven by what we value as a society.” 

“We believe that commuters and taxpayers must share the financial burden equitably, because ultimately, we don’t want a financially unsustainable system with a large fiscal burden for future generations of Singaporeans to bear.”

Images: MOT, Melvin Yong/Facebook, shawnanggg on Unsplash