Government-owned transport operator SMRT registered their second breakdown back-to-back today (Nov 15) with a major service disruption affecting all stations on the Circle Line during the peak hour morning. This is the second consecutive day of disruption after a train fault created chaos on the North-South Line also during the peak hour morning yesterday (Nov 14). Aside from frequent train service disruptions, train cabins were also reported to be leaking water by commuters yesterday.
To worsen the overcrowding resulted from the delay, commuters had to rely on word of mouth as SMRT skipped public announcement for yesterday’s breakdown.
Economic losses for the two days is estimated at millions as hundreds of thousands of employees were at least half an hour late for work.
SMRT is currently plagued with an incompetent management, headed by two former army generals with no railway management experience. SMRT’s two CEOs – former Chief of Defence, Desmond Kuek, and former Airforce commander Lee Ling Wee – have never once worked in the private sector and were assigned leadership roles by the ruling party through cronyism. In 2017, CEO Desmond Kuek was rewarded with a S$1.87-million-a year salary despite delivering a worsening train system. According to the Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s statement addressing the flooded train tunnel episode in Parliament last week, SMRT “must not lose money”.
SMRT’s senior management were protected from public prosecution and the two CEOs managed to keep their million-dollar salary.
Earlier this week, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan admitted that overpopulation was the primary cause behind the slew of power faults as the existing rail lines have to support more trains than before to accommodate the demand during peak hours.