Compared to statistics that are three years old, that is
During the Parliament sitting yesterday (13 April), Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said that he had ordered the LTA and SMRT to ” get to the bottom of the recent disruptions”. This was in response to MP Lee Bee Wah’s question about the multiple breakdowns that had happened within just a few days.
Lui also expressed regret at these incidents because he felt that the trains had made “significant improvements in recent times” of 25% as compared to 2011. He also compared Singapore’s train system to that of New York, where our delay rate is “more than twice as good” as theirs.
FYI: According to Wikipedia, the New York City Subway is the seventh busiest rail system in the world, and offers 24 hours of rail service every day.
According to him, SMRT has promised to “thoroughly review and strengthen its maintenance regime” and train its staff so that they will be better equipped to deal with subsequent delays and breakdowns.
On contingency measures
When train delays are too long, commuters get a full refund of their fares, and are also able to continue on their journey via free bus services. And to top things all off, a “complimentary ticket” is also given to the commuter, who can use it for another ride.
Lui said that it is difficult to quantify how much different commuters are affected and hence, a one compensation for all framework would not work.
“And much as we’ve given thought to it over the last year or so, we’ve not been able to come up with something that we think applies fairly across to all commuters who are affected.”
Since Lui and team could not find a solution, the current plan is to fine errant operators and direct those fines into the Public Transport Fund, which provides transport concessions and help to the lower-income.
Train breakdown becoming a way of life?
At the very same time while Minister Lui was speaking in Parliament, the trains plying the North-East line were disrupted for about 20 minutes due to a “signalling fault”. The NEL is managed by SBS.
Earlier on in the morning, trains running the Circle Line were also affected, but only for about nine minutes. The trains on the Circle Line are managed by SMRT.
The end is near
It’s bad when Lui keeps talking about improvements being made when commuters and the everyday Joe on the street can’t see those improvements. A 25% improvement? All I know is that I sometimes have to wait up to four minutes for a train. In peak hour. I also know that sometimes I get stuck at City Hall for ten minutes because the train in front is still at Raffles Place.
Dear Minister Lui, do you really know what you are doing? It looks like Singaporeans are beginning to think otherwise.
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