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Thousands Flock to Opening of Singapore Subway System

November 09, 1987|Associated Press

SINGAPORE — The world's newest subway opened for business over the weekend, with thousands of Singaporeans swarming into the sleek, silver-gray, Japanese-built cars.

Sliding glass doors are mounted along the edges of all the system's underground platforms to prevent cooled air from escaping into the tunnel. All trains and underground stations are air-conditioned.

The $2.5-billion subway is to be a fully operational, 42-mile network by its scheduled mid-1990 completion and is expected to carry 750,000 people daily.

Government officials took a ceremonial first ride on the system's completed 3.7-mile stretch Saturday before opening it to the public.

There are to be 42 stations, 27 of them above ground--all within walking distance of one-third of this island nation's 2.6 million people.

Singapore has little street crime and almost no casual vandalism, so the system will not employ transit police. Smoking, playing radios or musical instruments, eating, drinking, bringing animals and resting feet on seats all carry a $245 fine.

Riders without a ticket face a $980 fine, and joy-riding is discouraged unless passengers are prepared to pay for the privilege.

The system's magnetically coded tickets allow travel time to a specific station plus half an hour to punch out. Riders not punching out in the allotted time face an additional $1 charge.

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