Through state media Straits Times, Singapore’s public transport operator SMRT promised train speed up to 80km/h on the East-West (RW) Line by end 2016. According to the government newspaper, the 11.5 years-long project of railway sleeper replacement will be completed and the temporary speed restriction, at between 40km/h to 60km/h, will be removed.
The SMRT spokesperson said commuters can expect smoother and more comfortable rides. However, there is no mention of the frequent train breakdown issue on the entire train network which is happening as frequent as once every two weeks. As the typical train fault is usually blamed on power outage or signalling problem, SMRT can only comment that its re-signalling project is 76% completed while a power supply project is 42% completed for the EW Line. There is no promise that the frequency of train breakdowns will be reduced.
Singapore’s public transport system has been troubled since 2011, and even though the problem led to the resignation of a Transport Minister, a CEO of Land Transport Authority and a CEO of SMRT, there is still no solution. Current Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan appeared to have given up on the problem and his last comment was months ago where he said “just copy Taiwan”.
It was also recently announced that SMRT will be nationalised by October, when sovereign wealth fund company Temasek Holdings will acquire full ownership and de-list the company from the stock exchange.