STARiS V1.0 & STARiS V2.0

I refer to the article posted in TechInAsia here.

As much as I want to change the STARiS V2.0 (it really does seem unprofessional), however the author does not seem to recognise other features that one could find inside a train. It could be potentially questionable to whether the author did even take said train before, as some of the “issues” the author pointed out are already a non-issue.

Let me take a breakdown of the points with reference to the above-mentioned article.


STARiS V1.0 when it was implemented, the map display is actually already planned ahead, but the change that really required them to change this system is the Canberra MRT between Sembawang and Yishun.

However even it would only open in 2019, around the same time when Thomson-East Coast Line would open.

This would mean they could potentially use this system all the way till 2019, as the map also has DTL 3 stations labelled (Expo & Tampines).

Therefore they are not in a hurry to change the system, they have at least 2 years.


1. Yes, I do agree it is ugly.

When it was first unveiled to the public via a press release in early 2016, I almost spat my covfefe (coffee).

However, the general public won’t give a damn about the font used (unless it’s Comic Sans), as long as they are legible and easy to read.

It could be improved in the future with possibly more modern themed icons, but as long as they are easy to understand, it’s fine.

2. Yes, it does not show the full train network most of the time.

However, there is a fatal flaw with this argument.

Image credits to SgTrains.

Look closely to the two objects inside the red rectangle that’s pointed out in the first picture above. They’re static route maps.

What are their purpose? It’s to allow commuters to have something to refer to!

The panel map has an almost identical layout as the default map used in STARiS V1.0.
The smaller sticker has the most up-to-date system map.

There’s no excuse of having no maps to refer to, honestly.

No information is being removed, honestly.

3. Geographically accurate vs System diagram

Blah, blah blah. I’ve went through this already above. There’s already a system map available for people to refer to! It is there all the time as well!

I felt that the geographically accurate map is a nice touch for people to judge their travelling distance, and it points out the direction of the train as well.

4. Slideshow of nearby landmarks.

Credits to Maxson Goh.

Ironically the images doesn’t need to be labelled because the pictures themselves are labelled.

Unless you couldn’t read “SEMBAWANG“, “SUN PLAZA“?

If you are unable to realise, all the images shown are either landmarks or pictures that label themselves.

They don’t just show any pictures taken by Tom, Dick or Harry. They’re all probably carefully chosen so that one can easily recognise the landmark if that were to be the commuter’s destination.

This is particularly useful for tourists who probably have seen many pictures of such said landmark but haven’t been there before.

5. I agree that the lack of carriage labelling makes that platform layout quite useless.

Only if you’re either in the first or last carriage, otherwise this won’t help at all.

6. Slow animations.

Credits to Maxson Goh.

Yes the text animations are slow, but it’s animated to allow the text to be where the said way out, otherwise it’d just be all clashed together in a mess, like “ESCALATORSLIFTSESCALATORS”.

However, if you take a closer look, there’s icons denoting a lift, escalators, and stairs. These are easy to see and are always there.

7. Overly-detailed station maps.


As much as a detailed map may frustrate someone, but it’s important to take a closer look to why they decide on showing you a detailed map.

One main purpose you could see is the Passenger Service Center (PSC) that’s labelled in a distinguishable green. That is important to note of, if you have a issue.

Another thing you could identify is the paid area. The gantries are easily seen as well and you could see where you would be facing once you tap out. This is good if you’re in a hurry.

As much as it may be overly-detailed, labelling of the PSC, escalators/lifts/stairs, gantries, paid area (by a shaded area) and the exits would be good enough.

Also, there is nothing wrong with the labelling. There is indeed a “Sri Mariamman Temple” at Khatib.

Google Maps

It is a cool 15 minutes walk, just opposite of Khatib Camp. But it’s there.

8. Multilingual Displays

Multilingual displays generally couldn’t work as well in Singapore as most of the places in Singapore are literally directly translated into one of the 4 languages.

May be helpful in the future, but not a direct requirement.

You can’t use Japan as a direct comparison because their main display language is foreign to most people, including tourists. In Singapore, everything is English by default.

9. Connecting Bus Services

There is no need for this as there is already a notice board dedicated to displaying all dedicated bus service routes linking each MRT station from that station.

It’s equally easy to just whip out your smartphone to find out about bus services at your MRT Station in just a matter of minutes, way before you even reach your MRT stop.


The STARiS V2.0 isn’t a perfect rendition, but however it isn’t the worst.

As much as it may be an annoyance and irritation during your travelling experience, just avoid the new trains, simple.

It’s more important for SMRT and LTA to focus on establishing the Thales CBTC system first before anything else, if I’m honest.


2 thoughts on “STARiS V1.0 & STARiS V2.0”

  1. > 2. Yes, it does not show the full train network most of the time.

    Someone mentioned that some trains with STARIS 2 don’t have the map stickers. Anyway, STARIS 1 let me instantly know where on the network I am. Now with STARIS 2 I have to look to see what station I’m at and then look at the route map (which, mind you, has text that’s rather small to read from afar). Yes, minor inconvenience, right, nothing I can’t deduce; at that point you might as well do away with STARIS entirely because I can deduce everything from a static route map and the next station.

    > 3. Geographically accurate vs System diagram

    We don’t want to know the distance we’re travelling. We want to know how much more time before we arrive at our stop. And are you seriously saying that you can, at a glance, judge the distance you’re travelling off that map with absolutely no references at all?

    > 6. Slow animations.

    Yeah, obviously if they left the text where they were and showed them all at once they’d overlap. Not a very strong argument.

    Use arrows. There’s so much whitespace there! Use it!

    > 7. Overly-detailed station maps.

    I’m only going to see this map for seconds. I don’t have a photographic memory. I just want to know where I need to go. What’s all these blue highlighted areas? Where’s the paid area?

    You need to take into account how the map is going to be used. Of course if I get this on paper and can stare at it for a minute the detail isn’t that much of an issue. But this is going to be showed for the mere half a minute the train doors are open! I’m not going to stand there and study the map!

    > 9. Connecting Bus Services

    You use the same argument again of all the information already being available.

    Then we might as well get rid of STARIS, since all the information it displays *is* already available.

    > As much as it may be an annoyance and irritation during your travelling experience, just avoid the new trains, simple.

    So eventually we’ll have to avoid the entire EWL and NSL. You really mean this? How does this help anything?

    I said this twice before but I’ll say it again: STARIS doesn’t provide anything that can’t already be deduced or isn’t already shown elsewhere. All it does is consolidate it into one convenient display. That’s the *entire point*. If you’re going to say something is already shown elsewhere, you’ve defeated the point of STARIS.

    > It’s more important for SMRT and LTA to focus on establishing the Thales CBTC system first before anything else

    Yes. I agree.


    1. If I actually didn’t made it clear in my stance above, I don’t completely side with SMRT/LTA on their rendition of STARiS V2.0, but I don’t find it completely bad as well, as there’s still many space for future implementations.

      The only thing that’s disappointing is that they did not seem to request for any public for feedback to their system when they showcased it last year. Or maybe they did, but not to the public. I don’t know.

      Another thing I forgot to mention is the Vacuum-Fluorescent Display that is also present in every train:

      The font looks very ugly, but at least it also displays the train station name, where the train is terminating in text even when the STARiS V2.0 doesn’t.

      It may defeat the purpose of STARiS V2.0, but however they’re still installed together, just in case the TVs went out of operation.

      For the new trains, some trains just simply didn’t have the route details stuck on them when they debuted. I’m fairly sure most of them should have adequate information on-board them as well by now. If not, you could take a picture and send a WhatsApp message to +9788 1398! Also about the “avoiding new trains”, it’s just a take on the original author as he mentioned he needs to avoid looking at it. As a general commuter, probably won’t give a damn about it.

      As for the overly-detailed station maps, they’re actually shown periodically the moment the train leaves the previous stop, not when the train is approaching. But the exits are quite clearly marked even if you’re simply taking a glance.

      But also, I forgot to mention that the rapid transitioning is to prevent screen burn-in from long-time exposure to the same image down to the pixels. The same applies to trains in Japan as well, but they do not display (or in limited amounts) messages about safety.

      Some of the arguments against the original posts may be flawed, and I do apologise for it first-handed here. But there’s just several limitations like prevent screen burn-in, and I do hope that after solving the CBTC deployment on the NSL, the STARiS V2.0 may be drastically improved to meet the general needs.


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