Update: A reader submitted the following photo from state media Straits Times showing how a train driver drive a driver-less cabin:

Driver driving driver-less train

Making Singapore a laughing stock, Singapore’s state-owned public transport operator SBS Transit yesterday (Mar 4) announced that they now deploy train drivers to their driver-less trains due to the lack of trust in the automatic railway system. Singapore is the only country in the world putting a driver in a train with no driver cabin.

Circle Line Driver-less Train

By not using the driver-less function, Singapore taxpayers have already incurred tens of millions paying for the technology. The move to put drivers will waste a further estimated S$10 million in training, hiring and manpower resources every year.

Indicating a lack of confidence in their railway technology, SBS Transit said that they are putting drivers to provide “reassurance”:

“We have staff on board our driverless trains not only as a reassurance to commuters, but also for operational contingency.”

According to state media Straits Times, SMRT is also putting drivers in driver-less trains on the Circle Line.

Despite having operated railway system for more than 30 years, Singapore has one of the poorest railway expertise in the world. There has been numerous cases where the operators did not how to solve a train fault or software glitch, resulting in injuries and train delays lasting an entire day. Singapore relies heavily on suppliers and also often blame the suppliers for not providing a reliable system. Thales and Siemens have been victims of domestic politics, as Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan often direct the responsibilities of train breakdowns to the two foreign engineering contractors.