154th-ranking propaganda state media Singapore Press Holdings and Mediacorp have collaborated to present fake news of the first day of the closure of the 19 MRT stations starting today (Dec 10). According to commuters present at the stations, the on ground situation was a complete chaos contrary to government media reports claiming “commuters taking in their stride” and “better than expected journey”. Frustrated commuters took to Twitter and Facebook to make complains about the fake news of government state media.
Over 400 road marshals were deployed, with many being untrained part-timers who are students on holiday gig. According to a state media interview, they are paid S$10 an hour on a 10-hour work shift. Only a 45 minute break is given and the students were constantly overwhelmed by the sheer number of commuters who are confused by the train closures. Some commuters also noted that the road marshals do not know the actual way and that their directions are unclear. Some road marshals complained that SMRT did not give any formal training, and that they were only given a short 15 minute briefing.
Aside from lacking in manpower, bus frequency also came at between 10 to 15 min, with some buses being overloaded and queues stretching as far as 500m in major stations like Tampines, Clementi, Jurong and Bugis. Traffic conditions were more congested and overcrowding is common at every train replacement bus stops.
The closure of the 19 train stations also brought corruption opportunities to the cronies. Temasek Holdings-owned Certis Cisco’s recruitment agency People Advantage is the main contractor of the part-timers and earned an undisclosed sum off the S$10 an hour part-timers. Uber rental, where Temasek Holdings-owned ComforDelgro just acquired 51% shares on Friday, also swooped in offering discounts to commuters who are frustrated with SMRT on the day. SMRT also managed to access legalised corruption rights from the Land Transport Authority to charge commuters for train replacement buses. Each shuttle bus charges the normal rate of a train ride.