Photo of train breakdown from CNA

According to the latest statistics released by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Singapore’s MRT trains break down more than once every 2 weeks. In 2015, there were 29 incidents delaying services more than five minutes. However, despite the increasing failure of train reliability, the LTA praised SBS Transit for “scoring well” based on the “formula” LTA devised themselves.

The “formula” adopted by LTA left out shorter delays, and when the latter is factored in, the North-East Line under SBS Transit is actually the worst performing train line. While older train lines like the North-South, East-West and North-East lines tend to break down more often, even the newly-built 3-year-old Downtown line (Dec 2013) is breaking down with an incident every 171,000 km. Hongkong’s 37-year-old railway system clock one incident every 520,000 km.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has refrained from commenting on train breakdown incidents and only recommended “copying Taiwan’ after he returned from a “study trip” in Taipei.

State propaganda newspaper The Straits Times attempted to put the embarrassing train breakdowns in a better light, titling their coverage “Fewer MRT disruptions in first quarter, LTA data shows”, and featuring anonymous commuters’ comments that “things have improved”.