Japan’s largest passenger train line operator, East Japan Railway Company (JREast) is planning to open retail outlets at 27 of the 32 stations on Singapore’s upcoming Thomson-East Coast MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) Line, which will begin partial operations by the end of 2019.
This step makes JREast the first Japanese railway operator to develop commercial facilities at stations in foreign countries. It will initially open retail spaces at three stations n— Woodlands North, Woodlands and Woodlands South — in December 2019.
In August 2019, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) of Singapore awarded the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) advertising operator tender to Asiaray Connect Ltd (Asiaray) and the retail operator tender to a consortium comprising SMRT Experience Pte Ltd; JR East Business Development SEA Pte Ltd, which is JR East’s wholly owned Singapore unit; and Alphaplus Investments Pte Ltd, an investment company of Singapore’s largest supermarket chain, NTUC FairPrice Co-operative Ltd. These two Non-Fare Operators (NFOs) will each be granted a 16-year concession when the TEL commences revenue service. The retail tender was awarded for SGD 24 million (USD 17.3 million).
When fully operational in 2024, the TEL is expected to serve approximately 500,000 commuters daily in the initial years, with the figure rising to about one million commuters in the longer term. This is the first time that LTA has outsourced the rail non-fare business. The two appointed TEL NFOs are expected to bring over SGD 164 million in concession fees over the next 16 years.
(Sources: Japan Times; Today; Land Transport Authority of Singapore)