SMRT And LTA Are To Blame 

It is strange to read the excuses that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has been giving for the shutdowns of our train system.

No, this latest criticism isn’t from another anonymous keyboard warrior on social media calling for Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan to step down again.

Instead, it’s a forum letter posted on The Straits Times’ forum written by long-time contributor, Patrick Tan Siong Kuan.

Train disrupted due to flooding in tunnels

In a spate of increasingly common MRT train breakdowns, last Saturday’s (7 Oct) disruption due to water collecting in the tunnels seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Beginning at 5:36pm and ending only at 1:52pm the next day, the 20-hour disruption turned out to be one of the most major train faults in Singapore.

Leaked photographs of the incident


Frustrated, Mr Tan wrote in to The Straits Times to air his grievances over what he felt was LTA and SMRT’s constant slew of unacceptable excuses for the disruptions.

SMRT not taking responsibility for breakdowns

From the repeated excuses blaming faults in the signalling system and track, Mr Tan felt that management had not taken proper responsibility for the issues that has plagued Singapore since December 2011.

He also questioned how the constant breakdowns could happen without anyone being held accountable for them.

This isn’t helped by Mr Khaw Boon Wan’s tendency to praise MRT reliability and shift the blame to others whenever a disruption occurs.

Full of hope and support but not anymore

Furthermore, he added that he was initially “full of hope and support” when the new SMRT management team was appointed.

However, that hope quickly faded overtime as the transportation situation only got worse without any signs of improvement.

He even threw shade at the infamous “army generals” that have taken on governmental roles in recent times.

Take note of his usage of the words “disappointed” and “disillusioned”.

Strong, harsh words from someone who clearly has had enough.

Operating in private in secrecy

Ending off his letter, Mr Tan added that perhaps the main issue is SMRT’s privatisation — which has allowed them to operate in private and secrecy.

With no public to answer to and the constant “ownself praise ownself” mentality, will we ever see the “world class” efficiency that SMRT trains were known for years ago again?

Or are we simply stuck in this cycle with no end in sight?

Featured image from SCDF and Gilbert Goh