Khaw Boon Wan releases newly dressed-up train, WP calls for train maintenance
Minister of Transport Khaw Boon Wan hopped on a train on Monday (14 Dec), and promptly found himself surrounded by Christmas decorations and an army of carollers.
What he was actually doing though, was introducing a new Christmas themed train. Together with Pathlight students, Minister Khaw was photographed commuting in the newly-decorated train.
The train adorned with Christmas festive images will travel between the North-South (NS) and East-West (EW) lines until 27 Dec. Looks like our Transport Minister has been as generous as Santa and have gifted us a huge present, in addition to the 99 new trains.
Just look at Minister Khaw and his Santa Claus cap happily sitting in the new train.
Workers’ Party calling for more transparency in transport
While Minster looked delighted at his trip in the new train, Workers’ Party (WP) Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP), Dennis Tan Lip Fong called for more transparent protocols, while NCMP Gerald Giam questioned the presence of expired train assets.
Mr Tan says:
MRT breakdowns have not abated since the massive breakdown this July. The frequency of MRT breakdowns must not become a normal way of life in Singapore. It is totally unacceptable.
Thus, WP is asking for clearer protocols to be followed to prevent further faults in our transport system.
Mr Giam supports Mr Tan’s statement, saying:
Sleepers were designed to be replaced 15 to 25 years after the start of operations. If you count from 1987, which was when the MRT started, 15 years [later] would be 2002, 25 years [later] would be 2012.
Sleepers are not expected to be completely replaced until the end of 2016. That is clearly four years after the last date for renewal.
Mr Giam implies that the train faults had something to do with the lack of maintenance of the sleepers, and this maintenance was long overdue for 4 years. He added that sleepers at the NS lines were already replaced, whereas, those at the EW line were currently on the midst of being replaced and would be replaced by 2016.
However, this replacement of train parts is still considered 4 years late.
WP followed up their comment with a short post on their website, outlining their suggested measures of the transport system.
3 things WP wants the government to do
1. To ensure that there is a proper replacement of expired rail assets according to its renewal schedule
2. To institute Key Performance Indicators on the replacement and maintenance of train assets
3. To inform the public on the status of the discussion between the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) on the new rail financing framework, and set a clear submission date to be followed.
New trains or maintenance of existing ones?
This brings us to the question: Is Khaw Boon Wan’s method of bring new trains to Singapore an effective way to solve our transport woes? Or would the WP’s suggestion of transparent protocols for train maintenance be a better alternative in the long run?
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