Bukit Panjang residents will have to suffer for the next 11 Sundays from today (April 15) due to the closure of the precinct’s LRT system. According to interviews conducted by state media Today, residents said they have to leave their house earlier by half an hour, and made to stand in shuttle buses. Residents also have to pay full train fares for the single-deck shuttle buses which is stand-only and comes at only a frequency of ten minutes.
Residents interviewed by the state media however said they are happy about the inconvenience and there was not a single negative comment. Complaints and negative feedback are usually censored in local news reports as the state media is ranked 151st in the world for press freedom and credibility.
The Bukit Panjang LRT system is currently undergoing a S$344 million renewal project, with an undisclosed maintenance contract with Canada train maker Bombardier. SMRT has in recent months outsourcing maintenance works to third party contractor, so they would not be held responsible for train breakdowns. The project is expected to complete by June 24.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has previously blamed the frequent breakdowns to the former PAP administration, revealing that the LRT’s poor design was resulted from “political pressure”.