~ By Aberdyn ~

It appears that Singapore’s public transport services are becoming unreliable in the recent months. Breakdowns have occurred to the MRT system quite frequently. When these happen, it will affect a large proportion of people commuting to work and other places. As a result, a disruption to a free flow transport service may cause massive disruption to the members of the public especially during the peak hours in the morning and evening. As a cosmopolitan city, the public transport network comprising of MRT and SBS buses are essential services to the people and should be made available and reliable at all times.

We are not saying everything should be perfect all the time, but at least the disruption of services are to be kept to the minimum. It seems efforts have been made to address and rectify the problem but it remains unsolved. The inception of the system in the mid-eighties till recently were quite excellent with very few incidences of disruption occurred in the distant past, but not now. We do not know what exactly has caused these frequent breakdowns. SMRT’s explanation every time a breakdown occurred seems pedantic. They give same old same old reasons of technical failure.

In the eighties and in the nineties, we seldom had these problems and breakdowns were rare. We do know that the systems are more complex now due the expansion of networks of having more lines like the North East, East West, North West and the Circle lines in operations. And it’s more complicated to operate, but do we have to have a very good and reliable team of people to manage it? Just look at countries like Japan, Germany and France and even Hong Kong of their subway system which are quite similar to ours, the services, are good with very minimum or almost zero disruption.

I think the authorities particularly the transport ministry and the Land Transport Authority ought to look into more precise details of what has caused of these frequent breakdowns and ensure that the system is being managed by highly qualified engineers, technicians and skilled workers in this specific profession. Only experts in this field are able to identify and manage the job well. We sometime wonder if the SMRT has outsourced its engineering work to contractors on the systems and delegated the repair work to the not so qualified people, and as a result we have the recent breakdowns – the SMRT debacles.

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