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Passengers scrambling to get onto free shuttle bus due to the train service disruption on Wednesday

Disappearing statistics on train reliability?

Is the rhetoric of “improved rail reliability” due to the selective disclosure of the statistics?

I refer to the article “Rail network has achieved new level of reliability: Khaw” (Straits Times, Nov 3).

It is reported that Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, speaking at the seventh Joint Forum on Infrastructure Maintenance on 2 Nov, disclosed that the overall system has clocked 660,000 train-km between delays in the first three-quarters of the year and stated that Singapore’s rail network has reached a new level of reliability.

The figure was 574,000 train-km in the first half, and 180,000 train-km for the whole of last year.

Mr Khaw noted that 660,000 train-km was “two-thirds” of his target of 1,000,000 train-km between delays by 2020.

As to point by Mr Khaw that the North-East and Downtown lines operated by SBS Transit – have already crossed the 1,000,000 train-km mark.

The Circle, North-South and East-West lines – operated by SMRT – have yet to reach the target, although he was confident that these lines will reach the mark “in due course”” – isn’t this akin to selective disclosure of the statistics ‘to look good’?

Why only give the average and the best, but not the worse, such as that for the Circle, North-South and East-West lines?

Since the average for the whole system was 660,000 and the North-East and Downtown lines were more than 1,000,000 – does it mean that the breakdown of the statistics further into the Circle, North-South and East-West lines, may be much lower?

With regard to “According to Land Transport Authority figures, the LRT network also showed a marginal improvement, chalking up 80,000 car-km between delays in the first nine months – up from 77,000 car-km last year” – does it mean that the LRT is about 8 times (660,000 divided 80,000) worse than the MRT?

Also, which country in the world does not (like Singapore) give the overall statistics of the whole rail network, instead of separately into the MRT and LRT?

Come on – please tell us the average statistics for the whole rail system (MRT and LRT) too!

In respect of the claim that the number of major delays – those lasting more than 30 minutes – has fallen. The ST report cited six delays on the MRT network in the first three-quarters of the year, compared with 16 for the whole of last year, saying that the improvement in the LRT system was less obvious, with nine major delays versus 11 last year.

According to the LTA report last year, delays more than five minutes were recorded for each of the service lines and a projected target was made for the distance travelled before a delay occurred. But there is no such report produced by LTA this year. What we have instead, is Mr Khaw's announcement of the statistics.

What happened to the statistics? Did it disappear?

By the way, there was a delay recorded on Bukit Panjang LRT and Circle Line this morning, the first working day just after Mr Khaw's declaration on Friday.