Singapore’s two major train lines, the North-South and the East-West lines, is paralyzed today (July 7) around 7pm. The private transport operator responsible for the two major train lines is the SMRT, who announced that the breakdown happened because of “traction power fault”.
This disruption affects all 53 MRT stations along the two major train lines making it the largest train breakdown ever in Singapore history. Photos of overcrowding and power outage are now actively shared over social media. The Government-linked company said that there are free shuttle buses operating at every station but there have been numerous complains saying that everywhere is confusion and there are very few shuttle buses to accommodate the amount of crowd. The buses now are so full that people are even boarding the buses from the back door.
Singapore’s current population is 5.55 million and will be poised to increase to 6.9 million as the ruling party PAP Government targets a yearly GDP growth of 3%.
The current SMRT CEO is Desmond Kuek, the former Chief of Defense force, who parachuted into the SMRT CEO position after the previous CEO resigned after causing an outrage when she admitted in court to have cut maintenance budget for profits.
In the latest SMRT financial report, CEO Desmond Kuek received between S$2.2 million to S$2.5 million in a year making him the most well-paid CEO of a transportation company in Singapore. In April this year, SMRT applied for a 3.2% fare raise and the Singapore Government approved the fare raise saying Singaporeans need to pay to expect better services. The Minister of Transport Lui Tuck Yew said that the reason why he approved the fare raise is because he wants to ensure that the private transport operators like SMRT are “financially viable”.
According to the government-controlled media The Straits Times, Singapore’s next election may be coming as soon as in 2 month’s time, September. The current train breakdown will likely to affect the votes of the ruling party as Singaporeans become more disillusioned from the worsening standard of living.
As of press time, the SMRT trains are still faulty. Below is the list of MRT breakdowns after GE2011: