SMRT CEO Neo Kian Hong Says New MRT Trains Will Debut This September

Our former Chief of Defence Force turned SMRT CEO Neo Kian Hong has made his maiden speech.

Clad in an orange reflective suit topped with a navy blue cap, he announced that 12 new MRT trains are slated to operate along the North-South and East-West lines.

We think that’s wonderful news.

Except, they’re going to feature the infamous tip-up seats that divided netizens half a year ago.

Here’s his interview on Monday (13 Aug) in full, we summarise it after the jump.

New trains, new hope

The poor North-South and East-West lines can finally get some respite with the new trains slated to come in.

As early as next month, there will be 6 new trains plying these routes.

The other six will join their peers early next year.

But wait…tip-up seats?

Tip-up seats, though unpopular with netizens, will be a key new feature in these trains.

Despite earlier angst about the design – created with the help of McLaren’s F1 monitoring technology – the new format seems to be here to stay for now.

The design in question features entire rows of foldable seats, which can only be folded or unfolded by the train driver.

Standing room for an additional 100 passengers will reportedly be created within the new cabins.

Unpopular with netizens

To refresh your memory, here’s one netizen’s comment on the design when it was announced earlier in Feb,

As much as possible, commuters would very much like to sit down…Sorry LTA, you’ve completely lost the plot.

Others pointed out that the seats didn’t resolve the main problem that commuters encounter during rush hour.

Source

Namely, passengers not moving to the centre of the trains to a satisfactory degree, thereby leaving pockets of space in the train.

Improvements going great

On the flipside, Mr Neo’s statement to the media contained information Singaporeans can be glad about.

According to his update, the Rail Renewal Programme to increase rail reliability on the two oldest lines has crossed its halfway mark.

3 out of the 6 items have reportedly been completed.

The completed items include the Sleeper Replacement Programme, the Power Rail Programme and the introduction of the New Signalling System.

SMRT is currently working with the Land Transport Authority to complete the other three programmes involving the network power supply, track circuit and introduction of new trains.

On track?

The issue of about tip-up seats aside, Mr Neo’s words seem pretty encouraging.

We’re hopefully on track to see the light at the end of the dark train tunnel, without our trains having to breakdown halfway for a breather.

That said, it’s his first media release and we wish Mr Neo all the best in managing our train system.

Featured image from The Straits Times and Land Transport Authority.