Photo of Ling Wee Lee from Straits Times

According to SMRT’s managing director and former Air Force general Ling Wee Lee, SMRT is considering to scrap the Bukit Panjang LRT train system and return to buses. The backpedaling idea was proposed on his blog on Monday (Oct 3) and is under fire for bringing Singapore’s public transport system backwards.

The former RSAF general claimed that the 14-station Bukit Panjang LRT system is reaching its “20-year design cycle” and then proceeded to praise the good old double-decker buses saying a “fully-loaded double decker bus can take 130 passengers”. The Land Transport Authority, is however not pleased with the idea and slammed it as “not practical”.

SMRT is currently at a loss of fixing the Bukit Panjang LRT train system as breakdowns occur as frequently as weekly. A recent train incident on August 1 saw the train moving at high speed, speeding past four stations without stopping and having its emergency button not working. Last Wednesday (Sep 28), the LRT system saw a massive 8-hour-long breakdown with SMRT blaming it on a track fault.

SMRT is currently undergoing nationalisation under a buyover by sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings. Its CEO, Desmond Kwek, claimed that the company would have gone into losses had the government did not buy the depreciating physical assets over in a $1.2 billion deal.