Blaming a “track fault” for damaging 15 Light Rapid Transit (LRT) cars, public transport operator SMRT suspended train services of all 13 Bukit Panjang LRT stations. According to its Facebook page, there were only six trains running this morning (Sep 28) because a track fault in the previous evening damaged the “current collector devices” of fifteen trains.
The latest train breakdown lasted the whole of Wednesday and caused severe overcrowding in bus services and traffic in Bukit Panjang region. Commuters complained that the free bus services provided have too low a frequency to meet the demand. Train services were only partially restored on 5.45pm.
In June, SMRT said that “improving reliability cost millions of dollars”, signalling their intention not to fix the system because it was too expensive. Read report here. Two months later in another breakdown incident, the Temasek Holdings-owned company said the emergency button works only when the train is moving. Read report here. According to a recent train reliability performance report issued by the Land Transport Authority, the Bukit Panjang LRT line is the worst-performing train service line in Singapore.
Ironically, SMRT is building a similar LRT system for Indonesia. According to a Singapore stock exchange announcement made, SMRT submitted a bid for Indonesia’s Bandung City public rail project on Sep 9. On Sep 26, the mayor of the Indonesian city said SMRT was awarded the tender for a 10.15km route between Babakan Siliwangi to Leuwipanjang.