Despite having LRT trains on the Sengkang-Punggol lines for 13 years since 2003, SBS conducted its first fleetwide inspection only two months ago on July 2016. This inspection was conducted only after 26 newly made-in-China trains were found to have hairline cracks that require manufacturer-level repair in China – costing millions in logistic overhaul.
Hairline cracks were found on 11 Light Rapid Transit (LRT) trains made by Japan’s Mitsubishi, but the repairs were done locally in Singapore – unlike the 26 made-in-China trains. 6 of the trains have been restored in 3 months, which questioned why the new China trains require 6 years to fix. – See report on China trains here
Safety standards of Singapore trains have been compromised in recent years. In July, a high profile train fault saw a train speeding past through 3 stations without stopping and the emergency button malfunctioning. The Singapore Authorities are however adamant on “managing expectations” and even publish surveys using skewed methods to claim that the train system is more reliable as compared to the past. Earlier in March, the Singapore government published a survey claiming Singaporeans are happiest with the public transport system since 2010.
Despite the recurrent breakdowns that frequent as much as weekly, public transport operators SBS and SMRT post record profits to the ire of commuters. Both companies are owned by the country’s sovereign wealth fund company Temasek Holdings, and their CEOs are appointed by the Singapore government.