Only after a train collision that saw 38 injured with some broken bones and teeth, the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA) will no longer be continuing live human experiments where commuters are used as guinea pigs to collect data. LTA announced on Monday (Dec 18) that they will be conducting a comprehensive train testing with their supplier Thales at an offsite facility.
In the meantime, the two stations where the Nov 15 collision occurred – Joo Koon and Gul Circle – will remain closed until mid 2018 while LTA conduct offsite experiment. According to the LTA, the collision was a result of a software logic mismatch between the new Tuas extension line terminal at Gul Circle and the existing East-West line terminal Joo Koon.
Signalling system supplier Thales was not punished for the collision incident, despite being made the sole scapegoat. However, in a secret deal with LTA, Thales had to bear the cost of an undisclosed amount to set up a simulation facility.
LTA and SMRT are also currently conducting live experiments with commuters on the North-South Line (NSL), which saw numerous train delays from alleged software glitches in the new signalling system. There has not been an incident injuring commuters yet, but economic losses from late workers chalked up at least S$50 million to date due to island-wide system failure and delays.
Despite the worsening state of rail reliability, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan claims otherwise, based off a government-published data which sees “multi-folds” improvement instead. For undisclosed reasons, SMRT was also excused from the Excess Waiting Time framework which should see the transport operator fined S$4,000 for every 6 seconds. The last punishment was in July 2014, and there has never been an update on punishments from LTA since then.