Photo of Khaw Boon Wan on train

Still clueless about the problem of intermittent signalling issues, SMRT switched off the mobile network in four stations for two hours in an attempt to fix the 5-day old train breakdown issue. SMRT suspect that third-party signal may be the cause of the signalling issue and hence decided to turn off the mobile network at Kent Ridge, Haw Par Villa, Pasir Panjang and Labrador Park between 7pm to 9pm yesterday (Sep 3).

The Circle Line saw trains travelling as slow as 18km/h for 5 days straight as SMRT lack the expertise to fix the issue. Travelling time for a usual 15 minutes ride extend to over 40 minutes, with stations severely overcrowded. No alternative transport is provided and fare charges remain as usual. Over the period, Singaporean commuters lodged barrage of complains over the lack of responsibility and accountability by SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in handling the train breakdown. Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan disappeared into hiding and passed the ball over to his LTA officials and SMRT personnel to handle the outrage.

The Singapore government is refusing to call the Circle Line issue as a “breakdown” because trains are still moving, albeit at a slower rate. This is also why no free alternative transport is provided and fares are charged as a usual rate. No refund is eligible and no explanation notes are available for passengers who are late for work or school.

Economic losses resulted from train breakdowns amount to an estimated tens of millions in the 5-days. Given Singapore’s already-falling productivity rate, the recession has worsen with train breakdowns and Zika-virus.