Buangkok MRT Station

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 NE15 
Buangkok MRT Station
万国地铁站
புவாங்கோக்
Stesen MRT Buangkok
Rapid transit
Ne15 buangkok2.jpg
Platform of Buangkok MRT station.
Station statistics
Address 10 Sengkang Central
Singapore 545061
Coordinates 1°22′58″N 103°53′34″E / 1.382728°N 103.892789°E / 1.382728; 103.892789
Line(s)
Connections Bus, Taxi
Structure type Underground
Levels 2
Platforms Island
Tracks 2
Other information
Opened 15 January 2006
Accessible Handicapped/disabled access
Station code  NE15 
Operator SBS Transit (ComfortDelGro)
Services
Preceding station   Mass Rapid Transit   Following station
towards HarbourFront
North East Line
towards Punggol
Location

Buangkok MRT Station (NE15) is an underground station located on the North East Line of the Mass Rapid Transit in Singapore. The station is in Sengkang and near to Hougang and serves residents in the vicinity.

The Art in Transit artwork is Water, Nature and the Contemporary by Vincent Leow.[1]

History[edit]

Buangkok was originally planned to be opened with the other of the 16 stations on the North East Line in 2003. However, a few days before the opening, the operator SBS Transit decided not to open the station as the area around the station was relatively undeveloped and the company claimed that the number of passengers would be too low to cover operating costs.

On 12 November 2005, then Transport Minister Yeo Cheow Tong announced that the station would open in mid January 2006[2] to much approval from the public,[3] and on 29 December, SBS Transit revealed the opening date to be 15 January 2006.[4] The station was well maintained like any other station throughout the time before it was opened. To prepare for the station's opening, the programming had to be updated to include Buangkok. Residents had said they would be willing to walk 400 metres to the station every day.[5]

The station opened with much fanfare on 15 January 2006. SBS Transit had expected around 3,500 commuters using the station daily, which would be the lowest among all the stations along the line, resulting in the station making a loss.

Even so, ridership on this station was much lower than expected on its opening week. It had an average of only 1,386 passenger trips per day. As a comparison, Clarke Quay station, the next lowest in terms of ridership, had already more than 6,000 commuter trips per day. However, Clarke Quay was located in the Central Business District with considerable development in the area. This was because the station was located over 400 metres from most residents' homes.

The interior of Buangkok MRT Station (NE15)
Entrance to Buangkok MRT Station

First white elephant incident[edit]

On 27 August 2005, during Minister Vivian Balakrishnan's visit to Punggol South, a resident, displeased with Buangkok's disuse, erected a series of white paper cut-outs of elephants, which were drawn in a cartoon-like style, symbolically calling the unopened Buangkok station a 'white elephant'. Soon after, police started an investigation on it as a case of a public display without permit, on the grounds that a complaint was received and that they may have been in violation of the Public Entertainment and Meetings Act, for which the maximum penalty is a fine not exceeding $10,000. It raised controversy because many people saw it as a harmless, trivial case not worthy of investigation. It also highlighted the general displeasure over the non-operation of the MRT station after it was built with public funds. It also raised questions on how much freedom of expression the government is willing to tolerate. A month later, police closed the investigation without pressing charges but issued a stern warning to the offender.[6] This led Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng to comment to the media, "We cannot apply the law to some and turn a blind eye to others. If we do, then the law becomes the real white elephant."

Second white elephant incident[edit]

"Save the White Elephants" T-shirt design by students from Raffles Girls' School.

On 13 January 2006, during a carnival celebrating the opening of the MRT Station, some 27 students from Raffles Girls' School were preparing to sell T-shirts bearing "Save the White Elephants" to raise funds for a charity Youth Guidance. This prompted a warning from the police that they needed a fund-raising permit and that "wearing of T-shirts en masse may be misconstrued by some as an offence under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public & Order & Nuisance) (Assemblies & Processions) Rules." [7]

The girls said that they had always taken a strong interest in current affairs and Buangkok incident inspired them to start what they called "Project White Elephant" aiming to "galvanise the youth of today to rise up from the apathy they are stereotyped with and take an active role in airing their views". Punggol South grassroots leaders were impressed by their "entrepreneurial spirit and derring-do", and invited them to set up a stall at the opening ceremony of the station to sell the T-shirts.

On 21 January 2006, Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng apologised for the way the police had overreacted to the group of school girls' plan to sell and wear white elephant T-shirts at the opening of Buangkok Station.[8]

Station layout[edit]

L1 Street Level Bus Stops, Shops
B1 Concourse Faregates, Ticketing Machines, Passenger Service Centre
B2 Platform A North East Line towards  NE1  CC29  HarbourFront via  NE14  Hougang (→)
Island platform, doors will open on the right
Platform B North East Line towards  NE17  PTC  Punggol via  NE16  STC  Sengkang (←)

Transport connections[edit]

Rail[edit]

Destination First Train Last Train
Mon – Fri Sat Sunday &
Public Holiday
Daily
North East Line
to NE1 HarbourFront 5.47am 5.46am 6.07am 11.32pm
to NE17 Punggol 6.27am 6.28am 6.48am 12.23am
Panoramic view of undeveloped land beside Buangkok MRT Station. In the distant background lies the northern part of Hougang New Town.

References[edit]

External links[edit]