When questioned why train service disruption announcements were delayed or inaccurate, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan pushed the blame to train operator SMRT. Speaking in Parliament yesterday (Sep 11), Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that he will “hold rail operators accountable” but did not comment what actions he will be taking against SMRT:
“All train disruptions are monitored closely by the LTA, which also holds rail operators accountable for lapses in providing commuters with timely and accurate information. More than 3,200 announcements were made in stations and trains to update commuters, and real-time updates were also broadcast via social media, websites and and LTA’s MyTransport.sg mobile app.”
Despite numerous complaints from the public, SMRT has always under-reported train disruption situations which worsened the overcrowding situation as uninformed commuters waited blindly at the platform for services.
Minister Khaw Boon Wan also opposed having city-bound bus services as an alternative to the train system plagued by weekly delays, saying “it is not easy”:
“Buses could not match trains for efficiency, due to the difference in capacity. One train is equivalent to so many bus loads of passengers. And every two minutes you have a new train coming in. So when there’s a bunching of delays, you can imagine you need tens of thousands of buses to remove or to transfer all these trains and it’s not easy.”
When questioned by opposition MP Low Thia Kiang over the worsening rail reliability, Minister Khaw Boon Wan claimed that he is halfway through his work and that train services is improving:
“MRT network has already exceeded its original target for this year, with trains running 400,000km before a five-minute delay… It is a multi-year effort, we are halfway there. It’s a cup half full now. Next year I will top it further and I’m fairly confident we’ll be able to deliver on this mission.”