In a blog post posted by Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) on Monday (3 October), SMRT Train’s managing director Lee Ling Wee said that the company and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) are jointly reviewing the future of the 10.5km, 14-station Bukit Panjang Light Rail Transit (BPLRT).
The BPLRT was said had been dogged by problems, including a breakdown just last week, and ongoing issues with the trains’ air-conditioning system.
The system was Singapore’s first LRT network in 1999 which means that it comes closer to the near end of its 20-year lifespan in 2019.
While it continues to “test the mettle of our engineering staff and the patience of users”, Mr Lee wrote that SMRT and the LTA are looking for a solution that will be “more than just a makeover” and will “completely transform the light rail system.”
Several options are being considered to “completely transform” BPLRT, including scrapping the network and returning to the use of buses.
Netizens have learned about the issue. Members of public, especially those who live at Bukit Panjang, voices their disagreement on the option to return to the use of buses. Here are what they said :
- Loh Wai Poon wrote, “Preserve the LRT track but improve the train and its facilities, SMRT. It is our money to build this system. It took many years of inconvenience to our neighbourhood and loss to local businesses before the track was built 17 years ago. Going back to the bus is a surrender of your incompetence and we pay for your faults! No. Do a survey of the Bukit Panjang residents and see whether you have support to demolish the LRT! The MPs of the constituencies along the LRT lines must know what their residents/voters think about this SMRT option! We don’t want to suffer another disruption to our lives seeing boarding, noises, dusts n diversion of traffic when the line is demolished. It is our money and our lives you are disrupting, consider our feelings.”
- Chan Wy wrote, “OMG!!! This so-called Elite-governing/managing? Abandon millions of dollar facilities because of unable to fix the aging system? Maybe millions of dollar to the sky-high pay top management is just a peanut! Dear SG’s people, better keep yourself not aging to face the same as Bt Panjang’s LRT system. Wasting of country’s efforts to nurture them, something wrong with our Education system.”
- Edwardo Lee wrote, “These are the rubbish heading some important posts, one wonder when Singapore is heading for the scrap yards. These are the differences in leadership between the old guards and the present generation, the old guards think of solutions to make good at the least cost, this new generation uses money to solve the problems, for example, LRT has too many problems, demolish it to save future problems, don’t think of solutions how to fix it and have less problems in the future. It reminded me of a incident, a little boy’s wooden toy was damaged and can be make good with some handy work but the daddy said don’t cry I will buy you a new toy because I have money.”
- Ng Ek Ngee wrote, “It’s also a massive waste to pay paper generals millions of monies to sit and shake leg, instead of solving problems that were caused by them. Too bad the 70 percent gave a strong mandate for them to do so.”
- Lee Suping wrote, “What a waste of public money? Why the government never conduct a feasibility study first before implementing on such a big and costly project. Why is the government so hasty to spend so much money on such a huge project only to be scraped. What is our $8 man doing?”
- Peter Lim wrote, “Looks like our MRT/LRT is a lemon. What is happening is just damage control, managing expectations while muddying the waters to avoid blame that results in sacrificing the loyal lamb, while buying time to make it better in whatever form that may be.”
- Jeffrey Pay wrote, “I don’t need to be a formal Military General. My suggestion is “Adapt and Improvised”. That’s what I always told my security officers, whenever there’s a situation arised. Worst case, back to basics, operate it by man for every train at the moment to buy time, solve the LRT’s root problem and then back to normal operations. Wastage are a big sin, unless you are paying for it.”
- Edwaard Tan wrote, “Millions spent and now millions dollars go to longkang (drain). Planners should be far sighted and not wasting tax payer money. Some system are workable in certain countries but may not be feasible for Singapore in the long run. Government should be fine to tune the public transport like buses, taxis and MRT, Instead of implementing a project that takes years to build and ends up not feasible. Well i understand talking is easy but always plan far ahead and considering how much precious space we have, technologies changes, ageing population, product life cycle, maintenance and operation cost etc…I understand there is a payback period and after that is profit. But when maintenance eats into the profit this system is not workable and may incurred losses.”
- Shareeda Morrison wrote, “Residents who use wheelchairs and strollers in Bukit Panjang rely on this daily to get to the MRT. The buses are not easy for people who have trouble getting around. Please don’t scrap it!”
- Andy Lim wrote, “The current situation are all the incapable people at the helms collecting high pay yet unable to have solution and think wisely. All consideration is about money and profit.”