According to the latest train statistics from the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Singapore saw the highest number of major breakdowns lasting more than 30 minutes in 2016 at 34 incidents. This is an increase of 13.3% over 2015’s 30. In 2016, there were 16 major breakdowns in the MRT lines and 18 in the LRT lines, compared to 2015’s 15 in the MRT lines and 15 in the LRT lines.
The LTA however withheld details on the breakdowns, as most major breakdown incidents last more than 30 minutes. There is no statistic on the total hours of down-time, and there is also no statistic registered for train breakdowns with disruption lasting lesser than 30 minutes. Also, there is also no statistics on the number of train delays not amounting to a disruption. The LTA also withheld information on the average speed of the trains, and did not comment on the service delivery of the train service.
Singapore’s Transport Ministry however introduced a new measurement, called the Mean Distance travelled between delays of more than 5 minutes, that reflected a 30% improvement in rail reliability instead. According to the LTA, the new measurement in 2016 saw Singapore trains averaged 174,000 train-kms, up 30% from 133,000 train-kms in 2015.
In their statistic report, the LTA also said they need more than S$4 billion in total to renew, expand and upgrade the existing rail assets. Of the S$4 billion bill, S$2.8 billion is liable by train operator SMRT. The company would have been bankrupted had it was not been bought over by the Singapore government in a S$1.06 billion bailout using taxes in September 2016.
In a bid to protect his political reputation, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has avoided all media appearance and refused to address train breakdown issues. His last media appearance was on a Facebook post of himself standing arms folded in a crowded train by state media mothership.sg.