Photo of crowd during train breakdown from Twitter

Merely a day after promising better train service, SMRT saw the biggest train breakdown today (Mar 30) affecting the highly-populated East-West Line stations between Pasir Ris and Paya Lebar interchange at about 6pm.

Public transport operator said that the power fault occurred between Tanah Merah and Bedok, and it started before 6pm. A train was said to be stuck and required another train to push it, according to SMRT’s spokesperson Patrick Nathan. Trains were also arranged to make shorter trips on the eastern island to relieve the severe congestion especially in Paya Lebar interchange:

“As the defective train was unable to move, a second train was activated to push the defective train to Changi depot. Several trains travelling towards Pasir Ris station had to be turned around at Bugis, Aljunied and Eunos stations to travel towards Joo Koon to relieve congestion. ”

An estimated over 100,000 commuters in the peak hour period were stuck in the 40-minutes-long breakdown, frustrating both Singaporeans and foreigners.

A frustrated commuter left a comment on the government state media Facebook page:

Karen Teo: “So pissed off. The board show 2 mins. Than announced say the train at platform B is not for boarding. Than 20 mins no train coming. Than 40 mins. -.- Pls … next time pls make accurate announce. Don’t waste our time waiting for the impossible train to come. In the end , the staff ask us to leave the mrt station at Bedok … Than uber price Super ex, taxi stand also very Long. Super piss. And the train alway choose the same timing to breakdown. Alway peak period -.- well done mrt”

The breakdown happened just hours before a “planned 10 minute delay” on the North-South Line. SMRT conducted a similar switch over of the new signalling system on Tuesday (Mar 28) and lied that the test was successful. There was no reason provided why there was still a need for a new “switch-over” today.

Most train breakdowns happened during the peak hours because the existing train infrastructure, which was originally designed for a 4 million population in the 1990s, is unable to cope with the overpopulation today. The Singapore government however is still increasing the population to a 6.9 million, in order to maintain political power by diluting the local votes with new citizens’.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan had earlier in March stated that public transport fares may increase due to “better services”. He is however nowhere in sight at times of breakdowns like this.