Singapore’s government Land Transport Authority (LRT) lied on its press release yesterday (April 5th) saying that the train railway network is now more reliable even though they admitted there have been more train breakdowns.
In 2015, there was a total of 14 major MRT train breakdowns, 40% more than 2014’s 10 incidents. For the LRT trains, the number of breakdowns exceeding thirty minutes increased 4-fold to 15 in 2015. The most problematic train system is the Bukit Panjang LRT line, which saw 10 breakdowns in 2015. In summary, there is a train breakdown nearly every 2 weeks in Singapore.
The LTA, under the Transport Ministry, defends itself by claiming that trains are travelling longer between delays, which is how they arrived to the conclusion that train services have become “more reliable”.
An economist from the government-controlled Singapore Institute Management (SIM), Walter Theseira, defended the LTA by claiming that “it is not economically feasible to achieve a state of zero defect”. The SIM professor claimed that disruptions should instead be kept to “an acceptable level”:
“The question is whether we have put, or are putting in enough spending on maintenance to bring that probability of disruption down to an acceptably low level.”
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has been silence and refraining to comment on the increasing frequencies of train breakdowns. Like his predecessor, he is trying to lower public’s expectation to an “acceptable low level” by featuring front line railway maintenance technicians as to absorb the blame and frustrations from the public. His predecessor, Lui Tuck Yew, was fired by the Prime Minister for his incompetency to turn around the underfunded and ailing public transport system prior to the 2015 election.
Earlier in March, LTA conducted it’s own survey and claimed that the survey result show that Singaporeans are now more satisfied with public transport.