The Great MRT Breakdown: Our Reporter Recounts His Experience

MRT breakdowns led to a living nightmare

Last night (7 July), trains across the North-South and East-West Line (NSEWL) shuddered to a halt during the evening peak hour.

I received the news of the MRT breakdown while breaking my fast. I was at the Geylang night market with my family to buy new decor in preparation for Hari Raya when the news on SMRT’s Facebook page popped up on my feed.


My family and I headed home at approximately at 8.15pm after shopping.

Having failed to procure a taxi after 15 minutes of waiting, we decided to catch a train instead. What we saw at Paya Lebar MRT Station was pure chaos. The commotion caused by commuters affected by the disruption left us in shock.

Scene at Paya Lebar MRTSource

Helpful SMRT staff

Like a horde of lost zombies, confused commuters wandered around the station looking for assistance from SMRT staff. Many were dumbfounded and lost as they were forced to alight before their destination. They were trying to figure out the best way to reach home as quickly as possible.

20150707_211539Image from Ali Muhd

SMRT staff were helpful in assisting the public with their queries. They handled the situation in a calm and professional manner. I was led to the right direction by friendly a SMRT staff who was still able to answer with a gracious smile.

Image by Ali Muhd

Stranded commuters on MRT Circle Line

We abandoned hope of getting on the train, opting instead to take the Circle Line and try our luck at hailing a taxi from Bishan. The relative peace and tranquility compared to the chaos three floors up was a surprise. There were few commuters at the platforms and aboard the train. I thanked my lucky stars.

Thank GOD GifSource

At Bishan, however, we were greeted with a sea of commuters. Limbs and arms were everywhere and I suddenly wondered how sardines felt inside a can. We inched our way across Bishan Station, narrowly avoiding stray plastic bags and laptop sleeves.


Difficulties to get on taxi and bus

Once outside Bishan Station, we received news that there were free buses running toward Woodlands, where I stay. Being typical kiasu Singaporeans, my family decided to take the free ride instead of wasting our money. The entire situation outside was much more insane than expected.

There were commuters jam-packed on the bus stops and on the road. The free buses were delayed, and filled by the time they arrived anyway, rendering the wait fruitless.

Police officers had to regulate the commuters with the boarding of the buses and also control the crowd.


Frustrated with the situation, we decided to try and get a taxi to reach home. Each family member was on our handphones using different apps to book taxis in hopes of securing a ride home.

Taxi booking apps were clearly overworked with requests, as our booking attempts failed continously.

Almost half an hour of trying, a booking finally went through, and our ordeal was seemingly over.


Home sweet home

I was able to reach home at 11pm after the nightmare experience of MRT breakdown. The entire journey took 3 hours to reach home. It would usually take 40 minutes from the Geylang night market to home via taxi.

The longer than expected journey that was tiring for most of us. It was frustrating that for the MRT to not be working, especially during peak periods. Many that were affected by the breakdowns are working adults who were making their way home.

I am just thankful that I was able to make it home and survived through this ordeal. It is indeed a frightful experience for the commuters in Singapore. Let’s hope that SMRT have find the cause of the MRT breakdown soon.

tired face

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Featured Image via Ali Muhd
With references from SMRT Facebook, SMRT Twitter

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