In a Straits Times report dated Wednesday (27 September), it is reported that commuters are less satisfied with MRT train services, compared with a year ago, while taxi and public bus services see an increase in customer satisfaction levels.
According to the second-quarter Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore, which was released by the Singapore Management University's Institute of Service Excellence (ISE), on a scale of zero to 100, the MRT system scored 64.8 points, a fall of 1.6 points from the same period last year.
The study assessed customer satisfaction levels for the land and air transport sectors and was conducted from April to July, where a total of 6,750 people, comprising 4,300 Singaporeans and permanent residents, and 2,450 tourists were polled.
The "reliability of trains" satisfaction points were decreased. However, the poll stated that other attributes such as "sufficiency of train arrival information" and "helpfulness of staff" had improved ratings.
Professor Lee Der-Horng, transport researcher at the National University of Singapore's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, said that he thinks that the train operators are now more experienced in handling train disruptions, such as in deploying manpower for better crowd management, he said that the "main goal is really to eliminate unexpected delays" to win back the favour of commuters.
However, commuters were said to be more satisfied with public buses this year than last year.
ST also stated that while taxi services scored 71.8 points, a year-on-year rise of 1.85 points, ratings for the attribute "comfort of the ride" fell. Local respondents also rated taxis lower on that attribute, compared with private-hire cars.
The report also mentioned that public satisfaction towards budget airline has increased as "comfort of the journey" strongly impacting their perceived quality of budget airlines.
However, customer satisfaction scores for full-service airlines showed no significant change.
Changi Airport experienced a year-on-year dip in satisfaction ratings by 4.23 points to 77.1 points. Mr Chen Yongchang, head of research and consulting at ISE, said this is due to a drop from a spike in 2016's results, and that the ratings this year are not below those of 2014 and 2015.
Many netizens bashed ST for trying to put positive spin on the matter.
Peter Tan wrote, ""Less satisfied"??? Why not just used "Not satisfied"? as if there are some commuters who are satisfied with the train services. We.are.not.satisfied. Please ST, don't even try to put a positive spin on this."
James Fong wrote, "Will the ministers and MPs pls take the MRT for a month and judge for yourselves how packed the trains r, the delays, breakdowns etc before going back into your car. Commuters of cos r dissatisfied w the service. Ministers in Other countries might have already been fired."
Laurence Kuah wrote, "What kind of news ST is reporting here??? World knows or rather locals knows that but service improvement is what the people wants... Don't have to blow trumpet here in comparing how people are taking it. Improve the transport services by making it functional daily without faults or delays is what we want nothing less."
Rayson Goh wrote, "oah, 'less satisfied' is an understatement. Extremely understated!
He has slammed the media. Now he will slam the survey. Next will need his team of religious leaders to conduct rituals before the next round of survey."
Louis Lim wrote, "Do you really need to take survey still?? Lol!! T dont suck up the LTA leh. "Less satisfied" is totally unsatisfied."
James Yeow wrote, "Kind of setting the bar low, aren't we? Taxi services are fighting with Uber and Grab so they really have no choice. Buses surprisingly sharing the road with cars and other vehicles are more timely than trains who the whole track to themselves. How?"
Jeff Son wrote, "Trains service keep breaking down especially during peak hours, how do you expect people to be more satisfied? People are generally happier now that they have Uber and Grab to take - more affordable alternatives than traditional taxis."
Jordan Low wrote, "MRT broke down so frequent. Because of the many breakdowns, students taking exam will go to school 2 hours earlier, people need to go for important appointment has to go to work 2 hours earlier, people attend graduation have to go 2 hours earlier. Everyone worries when there are important occasion and not many can afford to take private hire. How long for the commuters to suffer? It is really getting the nerves of many commuters. We should penalize SMRT whenever there are breakdowns. Free ride for 1 week for everyone."
Zheng Hao Jie wrote, "Why SMRT is always using English statement or re-engineered statistic to make yourself feel better. Just provide a basic score of 0 to 100, total number of downtime every month. Simple."
Samuel Nellsons wrote, "Such small country, train system epic fail. Imagine if they were to manage a country size like their neighbours. Epic Fail of the century. "
Calvin Tham wrote, "Then how come Transport Minister claims general satisfaction with regards to SMRT commute and services provided! Really contradictory! Ownslf slap ownself again!"
Siah Jin Kim wrote, "If the satisfaction rate with MRT continues to rise, I will question the reliability of the survey."
Neil Bailey wrote, " I am shocked by this fake news!!!
How dare the ST say such a thing."
David Wong wrote, "This proves that Khaw Boon Wan speaks without checking out the facts. His million dollar salary has blinded him to reality."
Lee Phillip Wrote, "Thanks for the survey. Please let the ministry in charge know. They always boast of improved service."