Photo of crowd during train breakdown from Twitter

After overlooking SMRT’s deliberate cover up of train disruption notifications, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has finally spoken up to clarify that the government-owned transport operator should not skip notifications of delays over 10 minutes.

“Train operators must tell commuters of any delays exceeding 10 minutes through train and station announcements as well as via mainstream and social media. We have received feedback from commuters on rail operators’ public announcements during service delays, and will be looking into this matter. Besides train and station announcements, operators are expected to provide information through other channels if delays worsen. These include mainstream media and social media like Twitter and Facebook.”

On Nov 9, a 30-min-long disruption occurred at the East-West Line and SMRT made no public announcement. This resulted in chaos and massive human traffic jam at the stations with queues stretching as far as 300m. It is believed that by taking the disruptions off the record, SMRT is able to statistically improve it’s rail reliability.

The LTA however refrained from stating if skipping public announcements will result in any penalty. The regulatory authority has been in cahoots with SMRT recently over the playing down of rail incidents. During the train collision which resulted in 38 injuries on Nov 15, LTA refused to use the word “collision” and played with words saying “the trains came into contact”. The LTA recently also pooled in taxes and allowed SMRT to charge train fares for train-replacement bus services which should otherwise be free.