Monday, 25 August 2014

Recent Train Disruptions


Update 24 Sep 2014: Defective trains cause two-hour disruption on North South Line

A long queue formed at a taxi stand at Raffles City Shopping Centre during a two-hour train disruption on the North South Line on Sept 23, 2014. Photo: Ooi Boon Keong

Commuters were frustrated last night by a two-hour breakdown in MRT train services between the Marina Bay and Newton stations.

The disruption, which affected services in both directions at seven stations on the North South Line, was due to two defective trains that were unable to depart from Somerset station.

SMRT said the incident happened at about 8.40pm. “Engineers were immediately deployed on site while free bus services and bus bridging were made available,” it added.


Train fault causes service breakdown between Marina Bay and Newton MRT stations

Some of the passengers were left stranded within the stations, waiting for the service to resume. Some complaining that there was no SMRT staff to direct the passengers out of the stations and point out where the free shuttle buses were located.

Although SMRT stated that the service was resumed at 10.40 pm, many complained that the trains were moving at an excruciatingly slow speed.

According to records kept by Failrail.sg, this is the 16th major breakdown in the North South Line this year.


A broken public transport system, “free bus services and bus bridging” is not free
Increasing the population to 6.9 million by 2030. LTA’s solution – remove seats (all if possible) from some carriages!

One of the factors leading to frequent breakdowns is the increased train frequency. Our rail network was not designed for the current population.

Our rail network system was conceived in 1967 when our population was about 2 million. In 1980, our population was only 2.4 million. Our MRT system was actually designed with a population of 4 million in mind.

Confirmation: In URA’s Revised Concept Plan 1991, the government had wanted “to develop a viable land transport network that could meet the demand of a population of 4 million by the year 2030”. A gradual population growth rate allows for issues to be ironed out and citizens can also have a good quality of life.

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18,000 affected in 9-hour NEL breakdown
Yahoo Newsroom - A big crowd at Sembawang MRT station when a train fault took place in Kranji. Photo courtesy of @_shinekoh

In what was the longest North-East Line (NEL) breakdown since March 2012, MRT train services between Punggol and Sengkang stations were disrupted for nine hours yesterday.

Local paper Today reported that the stoppage took place between 6am and 3pm, and affected some 18,000 commuters.

NEL operator SBS Transit reportedly said the disruption was caused by a power fault caused by a dislocation of cantilever arms. As a result, power supply to the trains was cut off. SBS Transit added that this is the first time the arms have dislodged.

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Stranded commuters hit by delays
Commuters queueing for shuttle buses and being directed by an employee at Punggol station yesterday. NEL operator SBS Transit deployed nearly 40 free buses (above) after service was affected at Buangkok, Sengkang and Punggol from 6am. Full service was restored at 3pm. -- PHOTOS: TWITTER, JOYCE FANG

Thousands of commuters who were stranded when a power fault disrupted train services on the North-East Line (NEL) ended up at their destinations at least an hour later than planned.

The close to 40 free shuttle buses deployed by NEL operator SBS Transit and regular buses, which were free for passengers, failed to clear the backlog of peak- hour commuters quickly enough.

Train service was affected at Buangkok, Sengkang and Punggol from 6am. It resumed partially at 8.40am and the bottleneck was cleared at about 10am. Full service was restored only at 3pm


Power fault causes NEL train service disruption

The North-East Line (NEL) service was disrupted between Punggol and Buangkok due to a power fault, said SBS Transit on Thursday (Aug 21).

It said in its statement: "There is currently no NEL service between Punggol NE17 & Buangkok NE15 due to a power fault. Free bus rides are available at designated bus stops. Shuttle buses have also been activated. We are sorry for the inconvenienced caused."

On the SBS Iris app, it issued its first advisory at 6.18am advising commuters of the train disruption, before issuing another at 6.23am to inform those affected that "free bus rides (are) available at designated bus stops".


Stalled train causes hour-long disruption on Circle Line

A Circle Line train stalled between Tai Seng and Bartley stations at 8.05am on Friday (Aug 8), causing major crowds at Bishan and Serangoon stations and affecting the service intervals between trains toward Harbourfront station for about an hour.

In a statement on its official Facebook page, SMRT said: "The stalled train was driven by a Station Staff to Bartley, where passengers were detrained. Our commuters resumed their journey on the next trains."

While full services along the Circle Line resumed at around 8.14am, the stalled train meant further delays to trains behind the vehicle. Normal headway between trains was restored at around 9.19am, the operator said.


N-S Line hit by train fault
MORNING DELAY: Commuters at Braddell Station were affected after an SMRT train broke down between Novena and Newton stations yesterday morning. SMRT arranged for free bus services at the affected stations and deployed staff to give out leaflets with information on alternative transport options. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

JUST two days after transport operator SMRT was fined $1.6 million for disruptions on its train lines, it suffered another delay yesterday morning.

This time, a train fault at Novena Station caused a 40-minute delay on the North-South line.

"An air-pressure fault on the train caused the train's braking system to be applied, immobilising the train," said SMRT on its Facebook page.


SMRT fined $1.6m for 4 train disruptions
SMRT was yesterday hit with a $1.6 million fine by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), over four train service disruptions

Taken together, it is the second highest fine meted out by the authority on a rail operator after the $2 million incurred, also by SMRT, for two massive breakdowns in December 2011.

The Singapore-listed firm was fined $400,000 and $900,000 for two "serious safety breaches" that occurred on Oct 9 last year and Jan 22 this year respectively.

In these cases, SMRT trains on the East West Line, which were driven manually, damaged a track point after they failed to stop at a red signal light. This led to service disruptions of more than an hour on both occasions.


Train fault causes 40min delay on North-South Line
A train fault at Novena station caused a delay on the North-South Line this morning (July 23)

In a tweet posted at about 9.10am, train operator SMRT said commuters will need an estimated 20 minutes additional travelling time from Toa Payoh to Newton station. Six minutes later, it posted another tweet advising of an additional 40 minutes travelling time for commuters.

SMRT also tweeted that free bus services are available at Toa Payoh station towards Newton.

When Channel NewsAsia visited Toa Payoh station at 9.50am, the train service had resumed, although there was some confusion over whether free bridging bus services were still available.

related: Train fault causes 40-minute delay on North-South Line


Power fault disrupts service on Downtown Line on Friday, affecting 1,700 passengers
Commuters during the Downtown Line trial run on Dec 7, 2013. A power fault disrupted service on the Downtown Line on Friday morning for about 30 minutes, affecting about 1,700 commuters. This caused a stoppage in services in both directions at all six stations from Chinatown to Bugis on the 4.3km line. -- ST FILE PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

A power fault disrupted service on the Downtown Line on Friday morning for about 30 minutes, affecting about 1,700 commuters. This caused a stoppage in services in both directions at all six stations from Chinatown to Bugis on the 4.3km line.

In a statement, operator SBS Transit said the fault, which occurred at about 9.35am, was due to a defect in the Uninterruptible Power Supply system at the operations control centre (OCC).

"This affected the OCC's ability to control and monitor train operations. As a result of this, we held back all the trains at the stations' platforms as a safety precaution," said the operator.


Train services on Circle Line delayed due to signal fault

Thursday morning's slowdown was the third this week.

On Tuesday night, a track fault slowed down services on the North-South Line, affecting commuters from Ang Mo Kio to Marina Bay MRT stations.

On Monday morning, train service along the North-South Line was similarly disrupted due to a "track circuit failure" between Yew Tee and Kranji MRT stations.

related:


Third service disruption on SMRT this week caused by signal fault
Yahoo Newsroom - Commuters crowding at City Hall station because of train delays on the North South Line. (Yahoo file photo)

A signal fault on SMRT's Circle Line on Thursday morning caused another service disruption -- the third this week alone.

SMRT tweeted at 736am that a signal fault would cause an additional delay of 20 minutes travelling time from Paya Lebar to Dhoby Ghaut. At 853am, it tweeted that train services between the two stations were operating normally again.

On Wednesday, an SMRT spokesman said that the upgrading programme to update the signalling system across the entire SMRT network would take up to two years, and warned commuters that delays would continue in the meantime. She said it would eventually "address many of the signalling-related incidents we are facing today"

MRT incident: Senior Civil Servant lost to Chris Tan

From the ST report you could tell that SMRT isn't as worried about commuters than if the incident yesterday on the North-South line should be billed as a disruption or delay. Bear in mind many polytechnic students were late for their exams as a result of this incident but I don't think they were even aware or cared.

On Feb 13, Christopher Tan wrote an article I wanted to blog about but didn't have the time: Reliability of MRT key to having fewer cars on roads. In that piece Christopher Tan shared with readers about the bet he had with a senior civil servant on the reliability of our trains. Yesterday mrt incident suggests that the civil servant has lost the bet. I want to remember these statistics from the article.
For instance, breakdowns on the 125-year-old, 340km, 24-hour New York City subway average one every 260,000km operated. Singapore's 25-year-old, 180km network breaks down once every 120,000km.
Let's not even compare with the appropriate peer to us which is Hong Kong MTR. We can't even do better then New York! Yesterday incident was yet another annoying reminder.

Second track fault in two days strikes North-South Line

Another track fault struck the North-South Line on Tuesday, again causing passengers to suffer delays a day after thousands of commuters saw their travel disrupted in the morning rush hour on Monday.

The latest disruption lasted about half an hour and affected south bound services between Ang Mo Kio and Marina Bay stations.

According to Channel NewsAsia, transport operator SMRT reported a problem with the “signal code generator”, which provides trains with speed codes.

MRT train service disrupted again at North-South Line on Tuesday night (25 Feb 2014)


Fault on signal code generator delayed MRT services

Rail operator SMRT said a fault on the signal code generator that provides the train with speed codes affected southbound services on Tuesday evening.

Train services heading south from Ang Mo Kio towards Marina Bay MRT station were affected at 9.25pm.

SMRT spokesperson Alina Boey told Channel NewsAsia that the fault was cleared by SMRT engineers.


90-minute disruption delays North-South Line commuters during Monday morning rush
Yahoo Newsroom - A big crowd at Sembawang MRT station when a train fault took place in Kranji. Photo courtesy of @_shinekoh

A track fault along the North-South Line delayed the travel of thousands of commuters during the morning rush hour on Monday.

At a little past 7am, SMRT reported a “track circuit failure” on the south bound line between Jurong East and Kranji MRT stations.

It later said in its  Facebook page that the service between the stations was restored at 8:32am.

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Reliability of MRT key to having fewer cars on roads

While it is unreasonable to expect machines to operate without a single glitch, it is reasonable to expect major incidents to be kept to a minimum. After all, rail systems are inherently robust and durable. And a system that is as new, short and costly as ours should have fewer breakdowns.

For instance, breakdowns on the 125-year-old, 340km, 24-hour New York City subway average one every 260,000km operated.

Singapore's 25-year-old, 180km network breaks down once every 120,000km.

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Train disruptions will happen from time to time: Lui Tuck Yew
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said in Parliament that service disruptions will happen from time to time. (Yahoo photo)
Yahoo Newsroom - Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said in Parliament that service disruptions will happen from time to time. (Yahoo photo)

As Singapore’s rail network further expands and ages and as it runs more and more train trips, “service disruptions will happen from time to time”, said Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew in Parliament on Monday.

Responding to questions from Members of Parliament following a spate of train disruptions last month, the transport minister, however, acknowledged that transport operator SMRT “could have done much better in service recovery”, particularly in providing timely information to commuters.

He said as part of its investigations, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will highlight gaps in SMRT's communication with affected commuters and work closely with transport operators to share learning experiences and improve incident management.

relatedFare increases needed to improve service to commuters, says Lui Tuck Yew

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Fifth SMRT breakdown in 2014


As if determined to break the world record for the most number of train breakdowns, another SMRT train has stalled – this time on the East West Line near Redhill MRT station last night (24 Jan).

Hundreds of passengers were forced to get off the train at around 11:10pm while the train doors opened and closed about 10 times with the train not leaving the station.

An announcement was made instructing passengers to alight and the lights in the cabin were turned off to indicate that the train was broken.

related:
Fourth SMRT breakdown in 2014
Third SMRT breakdown in 2014
Second SMRT breakdown in 2014
First SMRT breakdown in 2014

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Train stalled at Redhill MRT station, passengers asked to disembark
A train stalled at Redhill MRT station on Friday night, forcing hundreds of passengers to disembark. -- PHOTO: SARAH AU-YONG
A train stalled at Redhill MRT station on Friday night, forcing hundreds of passengers to disembark. -- PHOTO: SARAH AU-YONG

The train was travelling in the direction of Joo Koon on the East-West Line. The incident occurred at about 11.10pm, according to affected commuters.

"The train door opened and closed for like 10 times. Then there was an announcement asking passengers to leave the train," said student Sarah Au-Yong, 21, who boarded the train at Outram for Queenstown. "But many of us were still confused. It was only when they turned off the lights in the train that people realised it had broken down."

Many commuters made a beeline for taxi stands, but some chose to wait for service to resume at the station, she said. The train was still at Redhill MRT station at 11.30pm. There was no mention of the incident on SMRT's official Twitter account.

related: Train stalls briefly at Redhill MRT station, after object jams door

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LUI TUCK YEW: I'M DISAPPOINTED WITH SMRT OVER THE 4 MAJOR DISRUPTIONS THIS YEAR

Finally the Transport Minister, Lui Tuck Yew, has come out to express that he is disappointed with SMRT for the string of delays and disruptions which have occurred so far this year.

There have already been 4 major disruptions this year before the very first month is even over.

Lui met with SMRT CEO and senior management today to find out the information which has been revealed by SMRT's initial investigations. He said later in a statement that he understands the frustration and anxiety of commuters and that he is concerned about SMRT's service.

related:


Fourth SMRT breakdown in 2014

LG (NS) Desmond Kuek, SMRT President and CEO

Train services between Tampines and Tanah Merah along the East West MRT Line were disrupted yesterday night (22 Jan). It was the 4th breakdown in SMRT services for this year as well as for this month January.

SMRT tweeted at about 11.15pm yesterday that there were no train services between the two stations.

Free bus services were available to help those commuters who were affected.

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Transport Minister asks SMRT for update on rail incidents, conveys concern

Train service between Tampines and Tanah Merah on the East-West line was disrupted on Wednesday night, Jan 23, 2014. Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew has asked rail operator SMRT to provide by next week an update on its investigations into a recent spate of incidents on its rail network. -- ST PHOTO: ONG HWEE HWEE

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew has asked rail operator SMRT to provide by next week an update on its investigations into a recent spate of incidents on its rail network.

Mr Lui met SMRT chief executive Desmond Kuek and senior management on Thursday to convey his concern and disappointment over the delays - the most recent of which was an hour-long disruption on the East-West Line on Wednesday evening. The incident was caused by a train driver who bypassed a signal point on the track without authorisation.

"I share the frustrations of train commuters affected by these incidents, and I empathise with them on the anxiety and uncertainty that they may experience," said Mr Lui. "I am also very concerned about SMRT's service recovery efforts, particularly in reaching out to affected commuters promptly and keeping them updated during these incidents."

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Train disruptions due to lapses by staff: SMRT
Investigations into three MRT service disruptions that occurred earlier this month showed that two were caused by human error, SMRT said on Tuesday.
Yahoo Newsroom - Investigations into three MRT service disruptions that occurred earlier this month showed that two were caused by human error, SMRT said on Tuesday

Investigations into three MRT service disruptions that occurred earlier this month showed that two were caused by human error, SMRT said on Tuesday.

In a statement, the transport operator said that the first disruption on 11 January, which caused a train to stall between Yew Tee and Kranji MRT stations, was due to a damaged cable that had worn out. 

The cable has since been repaired, and a system-wide inspection has been conducted to ensure there are no similar damages. A condition monitoring system is also being put in place, to improve the maintenance routines, SMRT said.

related:
Cause of North-South MRT Line service disruption was 'probably a cable fault'
Workers’ Party call for fare hike to be delayed, minister Josephine Teo hits backNetizen calls SMRT a retard: You will be fined for entering or remaining in a full train

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In the SMRT War Room
Poor SMRT. January sure is a bad month for the company….
Des Quake has never felt so besieged in his life. Outside the reinforced walls of his War Room, he can hear the howls of anguish and anger. People who couldn’t get to work on time. People who missed important business meetings. People who got no reception on their cell phones. They were baying for blood. And now, the chief was on his back… What did he say? Disappointment? Frustration?

Steely eyes fixed on his subordinates through rimmed spectacles, Quake started railing at them. “Six times this month we came under attack! Where to put my face now?’’

His subordinates stared at their well-polished boots, mandatory footwear for tramping through tunnels and along train tracks. Subordinate 1 decided to speak up: “We evacuated everyone safely. They were de-trained. Then they were re-trained. Those still in training were told to avoid danger zones. We also kept our communication lines opened.’’

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Monday's MRT train service disruption is another in a series of recent incidents

Crowd of commuters at Bishan MRT station on Monday morning. A signal fault caused an MRT train to trip between Yio Chu Kang and Ang Mo Kio stations at 8.10am on Monday morning, causing delays along the North-South Line for about 45 minutes. -- PHOTO: STOMP

A signal fault caused an MRT train to trip between Yio Chu Kang and Ang Mo Kio stations at 8.10am on Monday morning, causing delays along the North-South Line for about 45 minutes.

SMRT said 19,000 commuters were affected by the disruption, the latest in a series of incidents in the past month.

Here is a recap of recent service disruptions:


DateAffected lineWhereWhat happened
Jan 19, 2014Bukit Panjang LRT LineFajar and BangkitA power fault occurred between the two stations at 9.19am, causing a train to stop. Another train was sent to push the stricken train to Bangkit LRT station, where the affected passengers got off. Normal services resumed at 10.05am.
Jan 11, 2014North-South MRT LineKranji and Yew TeeTrain services along the line were disrupted for about 1½ hours, following a power outage likely caused by a cable fault, said SMRT. At least one train stalled between the two stations, forcing commuters to disembark and walk on the tracks to Kranji. Train service resumed at about 2.05pm.
Dec 27, 2013Downtown MRT LineNot specifiedService was disrupted by a power trip at night. SBS Transit said service was down at about 9pm due to a power fault. Fifty passengers on one train were made to alight at Bayfront station. Full service resumed at 10.10pm.
Dec 22, 2013Downtown MRT LineBayfrontA train fault disrupted service for 15 minutes on the line’s opening day at around noon, as thousands of people took the line for the first time. Services between Bugis and Chinatown were delayed.
Dec 18, 2013Circle MRT Lineone-northA damaged cable at one-north station caused a power failure at 11.21pm that disrupted services at 23 of the 28 Circle Line stations and affected about 2,900 commuters. About 300 passengers from three trains had to disembark and walk along the tracks to the nearest stations, Caldecott and Tai Seng. Power resumed only at 4am, several hours after train services ended at 12.30am.
Source: Straits Times reports
Compiled by Lin Zhaowei

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19,000 stranded by third train delay in a week
19,000 stranded by third train delay in a week

About 19,000 passengers were affected when train services on the North-South Line were disrupted for more than an hour during the morning rush hour yesterday — the third delay to hit transport operator SMRT in less than a week.

The latest incident, which began at about 8.10am due to a train fault and ended around 9.46am, caused scores of commuters to be late for classes and work. A group of passengers had to wait inside a train that stalled 500m from Ang Mo Kio MRT Station for more than 30 minutes before they could eventually disembark.

Yesterday’s disruption followed a 46-minute delay at the Bukit Panjang LRT line on Sunday, and delays on Jan 16 and 11 which lasted about 2.5 and 1.5 hours on the East-West Line and North-South Line respectively.

related:
SMRT to provide ‘full report’ on morning disruption: LTA19,000 affected by train service delay on North-South Line
Trains on North-South Line delayed this morning due to track fault: SMRT
Fare review: Bus, train fares to increase by 3.2% this year

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Train fault causes at least 20 minutes delay on North-South Line
The crowd at Yio Chu Kang MRT station. A train fault occurred on the North-South Line on Monday morning. -- ST PHOTO: ONG HWEE HWEE 
The crowd at Yio Chu Kang MRT station. A train fault occurred on the North-South Line on Monday morning. -- ST PHOTO: ONG HWEE HWEE 

A train fault occurred on the North-South Line on Monday morning.

Commuters will need an estimated 20 minutes additional travelling time from Sembawang to Marina Bay, said train operator SMRT.

The train fault occurred at Ang Mo Kio station.

related:
SMRT holds briefing to address delays caused by train fault on North-South Line
Train services on North-South Line resume after train fault causes delay
Train fault causes at least 20 minutes delay on North-South Line

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Commuters hit by blackout at linkway in Outram Park MRT station
Commuters using a linkway connecting the North-East Line to the East-West Line at Outram Park MRT station were reportedly hit by a blackout this morning, on Jan 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: STOMP
Commuters using a linkway connecting the North-East Line to the East-West Line at Outram Park MRT station were reportedly hit by a blackout this morning, on Jan 20, 2014. -- PHOTO: STOMP

Commuters using a linkway connecting the North-East Line to the East-West Line at Outram Park MRT station were hit by a blackout on Monday morning.

SBS Transit said the power trip did not affect train services. Commuters were seen using their handphones to light the way as they made their way out of the station.

"To assist commuters walking along the walkway, staff armed with torchlights stationed themselves along the path to help provide lighting," said SBS Transit's senior vice-president for corporate communications, Ms Tammy Tan.


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LTA To Probe Train Service Disruption Affecting 19,000 Commuters

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is to carry out an independent investigation following disruption of the Mass Transit Train (MRT) service which affected about 19,000 commuters on Monday morning.

LTA said in a statement the incident was due to a fault on a south-bound train, which had to be pushed by the train behind it to Ang Mo Kio station for passengers to alight safely at the station platform.

Given the inconvenience to commuters, LTA said it had directed the train operator, SMRT Corporation, to provide a full report on the incident, including the recovery measures carried out, and an assessment on what more could be done to help commuters adjust their travel plans.

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LTA ORDERS SMRT TO GIVE "FULL REPORT" ON TODAY'S NORTH SOUTH LINE BREAKDOWN

Following the major disruption to services on the north south line during peak hour this morning, the LTA has instructed SMRT to provide a 'full report' on the breakdown

The disruption left about 20,000 passengers affected with some reporting that they were stuck in stationary trains for over 45 minutes, unable to disembark or walk to the next station.

The whole incident resulted in commuters being delayed by up to 90 minutes going southbound between Sembawang and Marina Bay.

The LTA also said that they would carry out their own independent investigations into the incident as well

related:
SMRT CEO: IT'S UNFORTUNATE THAT 20,000 COMMUTERS WERE AFFECTED
SMRT CEO AKA "PAPER GENERAL" DESMOND KUEK BAK CHYE SHOULD BE FIRED
MASSIVE DELAYS ON NORTH SOUTH LINE DUE TO 'SIGNAL FAULT'
ANOTHER 'POWER FAULT' DELAYS SERVICES ON BUKIT PANJANG LRT

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Breakdown at Bukit Panjang LRT


Train services on the Bukit Panjang Light Rail Transit (LRT) were disrupted for about an hour on Sunday morning

The SMRT said that a power fault occurred between Fajar and Bangkit stations at 9.19am, causing a train to stall between both stations.

Another train was sent to push the stricken train to the Bangkit LRT station, where the affected passengers got off

related : Power fault causes morning delay on Bukit Panjang LRT

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5 THINGS TO PREPARE FOR MRT BREAKDOWNS


Just a couple of days after the fare hike was announced, SMRT decided to show us exactly why it needed the extra money (on top of the millions it has already made). In fact, this ST article reported that there were FIVE breakdown between Dec 2013 and Jan 2014. As we know Jan 2014 is not over yet so.. more breakdowns to come maybe? I find this site really awesome in terms of the number of breakdown recorded. Not sure who did this, but the person(s) is awesome.

In my short lifetime, I have encountered three major breakdowns. In the first two I came out of the train relatively unscathed. Thanks to my 6th sense (lol, I was so sure a terrorist attack was about to occur), I went out of the train station before the FIRST MAJOR BREAKDOWN (15 Dec 2011) to take a bus home. This happened for my encounter with another breakdown, except that I wasn't so lucky that time - I was stuck between Marina Bay and Raffles Place for half hour (at least I got a seat).

This time round was worse.

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MRT: From broken faith to break downs


This is yet more proof that the government must be checked. I would dearly loved for it to be otherwise but time and again they have broken faith. We are all losers, we are becoming more and more like other cities, becoming ordinary. But I cannot be wishful. We just have to figure other ways to make things better.

Of course the first step is to complain and if necessary yell at those in charge. If matters do not improve the people will find other ways. Who knows what these might be? Nevertheless this would be a huge issue in the next elections.

Failure to fix the problems with the train system is an issue. The inability to explain and come clean publicly other than asking us to trust them to fix it and failing to is a far greater and faith breaking issue.

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The Unseen Singapore #19 Did You Know Series: Desmond Kuek Bak Chye


Just 3 days after the Public Transport Council announced the unpopular transportation fare hike, Singapore's ever 'reliable' MRT trains broke down again. This time, on the North-South Line, from Ang Mo Kio Station all the way to Marina Bay. Exactly what needs to be done to rectify the problem? Is it a hardware or a heartware issue?

The Unseen Singapore believes that it is a heartware problem that can only be solved by changing the SMRT Management. After the money grubbing Saw Paik Hwa was kicked out, SMRT's management brought in LG Desmond Kuek, a full time paper general to helm the company. How does his qualifications and experience help in bringing the company forward?

If we look at Desmond Kuek's achievements during his 15 months tenure at the company, there were no visible improvement to the reliability and the service standards of Singapore's MRT system. Instead, under his SMRT leadership, Singapore suffered 2 major breakdowns affecting thousands of Singaporeans and 8 other MRT/LRT disruptions! To make matters worse, the PTC granted SMRT their application for an increase in transport fares! What has happened to Singapore's famed meritocracy?

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Double Barrel Snafu

Blame PTC, not SMRT, for fare hike

It was already difficult to write about the breakdown of the Bukit Panjang LRT Line on Sunday, coming so soon after the announcement of the insidious fare hikes. The really difficult part was SMRT's refusal to respond to queries on what actually caused the power failure to occur between Fajar and Bangkit station at about 9.19 am.

That particular LRT system had two breakdowns causing delays exceeding 30 minutes last year, but obviously no red flag was raised. And in April 2012, the same line provided the first spectacular images of the uniquely Singapore skywalk, when 11 passengers had to a balance gingerly on the steel rails to reach the safety of the next station. Where the escalators fortunately did not burst into flames. The escalator fire was at Toa Payoh MRT station in April 10, 2012.

Before the explanation about the Bukit Panjang disruption could even make it to print, another snafu took place at the North-South Line (NSL) this morning, inflicting misery on  19,000 commuters at a Monday morning's peak hour rush. This time a signal fault at around 8.10 am supposedly caused a southbound train to stall about 500 metres from Ang Mo Kio station.

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Bad Planning

Last week, the Public Transport Council (PTC) approved a fare increase for bus and train rides from April this year. This was done despite a fault on the North-South line affecting trains from Woodlands station to Choa Chu Kang station the week before.

Today, there is yet another train fault on the North-South Line. A 90-minute disruption during the morning rush hour caused commuters to be late for work and school and Singaporeans have taken to social media to complain loudly about the train disruption.

I think the complaints are very valid, and not just for the train delays. Complains about the price hikes are also very valid because we have two train delays sandwiched between a fare hike. There had been constant train delays for years and the week after a train delay, the PTC announced a price hike. Now a week after the price hike announcement, there is yet another train delay. That’s just bad news on top of bad news for Singaporeans and it’s small wonder why the complaints are flooding in.

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A PAP MP on the need to lose dignity to get $50 vouchers

Last year, the Fare Review Mechanism Committee (FRMC), among other things, proposed that public transport operators be required to contribute to the Public Transport Fund to help needy households when fares are adjusted, as a way of “sharing” their gains with commuters, it said. This could range from 20% t to 50% of the expected increase in fare revenue, depending on profitability, Presumably it would then issue vouchers for distribution to the needy poor.

I was reminded of  the proposal when I read, The thing is, the G talks about public transport vouchers again. Now if I remember correctly, hundreds of vouchers in the past hadn’t even been taken up…Either people really don’t need them or there wasn’t a good plan to get them to the needy. Perhaps, that should be fixed first http://berthahenson.wordpress.com/2014/

The proposed fund in turn reminded me that one Charles Chong in the  early noughtie said the needy should be made to lose their dignity to get $50 help vouchers.

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Claiming credit in Singapore
20131221 Downtown line stage 1 officially opened by PM Lee 1


In the past week, the Public Transport Council announced a fare hike for public transport in Singapore – a 3.2% increase in 2014 and an increase of 3.4% to be further considered next year. To mitigate the fare increase, Singapore’s Ministry of Transport announced a slew of concessions for various groups of people such as senior citizens, children, low-income workers, full-time national servicemen, and persons with disabilities. Most interestingly, polytechnic students, who have long been considered tertiary students like university students, will finally enjoy dramatically lower concession transport fares similar to their same-age counterparts in junior colleges and technical institutes. The struggle over polytechnic students’ public transport concession fares has been ongoing since 2001.

In response, the Workers’ Party (WP), currently the largest opposition party in Singapore’s Parliament with nine parliamentarians, issued a statement welcoming the new concessions. In that statement, the WP appeared to claim credit for the Government’s move for new concession rates, saying that “These groups will finally enjoy some overdue relief for their travel needs, for which the public and the WP have lobbied for years.”

Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Josephine Teo retorted on her facebook page that the WP’s response was “predictable” because it “never misses an opportunity to pander” through its attempt to “claim(ed) credit for the concessions.”. It is not the first time that a parliamentarian from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) has taken to facebook to attack the WP. PAP Member of Parliament Hri Kumar was unrelenting in his criticisms in two facebook posts late last year. He even attached a comic of Humpty Dumpty in WP uniform sitting on the fence

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Third SMRT breakdown in 2014

Commuters at the Khatib station wait for their ride on 20 January 2014. (Photo: Kelvin Ong/Yahoo Newsroom)

This morning (20 Jan), SMRT train service broke down for the third time this year, affecting some 19,000 commuters during the morning peak hour rush.

SMRT said that a signal fault was detected around 8.10am which caused a southbound train to stall about 500 metres from Ang Mo Kio station on the North-South MRT Line.

This caused a delay in train service from Sembawang station to Marina Bay station. Some 1,800 commuters from the affected and rescue trains had to be “detrained” at the Ang Mo Kio station. Not surprisingly, many commuters went online to voice their frustrations about being late for work.

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4TH MAJOR NEL BREAKDOWN INCONVENIENCES 60K COMMUTERS
lui tuck yew

Close to 60,000 commuters were inconvenienced yesterday (10 Jan) when train services between HarbourFront and Dhoby Ghaut stations were disrupted on the North East Line (NEL) at about 10am.

The disruption, which lasted some 7 hours, was the 4th major breakdown for NEL in less than a year.

NEL operator, SBS Transit (SBST), said the disruption was traced to 3 broken U-shaped bolts between the HarbourFront and Outram Park stations, causing a power trip. This is the same fault in the same tunnel section as occurred in August last year.

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First SMRT breakdown in 2014


Less than 2 weeks into the new year and the first breakdown of Singapore’s train service has occurred.

Indeed SMRT may be called “Singapore Mesti Rosak Transport” (Singapore Sure Spoil Transport in Malay).

A reader informed TRE that a major SMRT service disruption occurred between Kranji and Yew Tee stations at about 1pm today (11 Jan):

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Major Disruptions ready for some bubble madness?

Under the Licensing and Operating Agreement (LOA) between the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the service operators, SMRT and SBS Transit are required to adhere to the Operating Performance Standards (OPS) for service quality, safety and maintenance. Most notably, the OPS determines the severity of service disruptions as delays affecting more than 20,000 persons per incident.

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Pre-peak MRT crowd problem building up

I may not have in-depth knowledge of how SMRT Corporation defines peak periods and sets train frequency, but I believe that most commuters’ expectations are simple: Punctual, pleasant train rides.

Being unable to board the train or travelling in an overcrowded one fails to meet these expectations.

I take the westbound train from Simei at 7am on weekdays and have noticed that the train frequency has been four minutes lately, from three minutes a few months ago.

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Full Coverage:


Yahoo:19000 commuters affected by North-South Line disruption during morning rush
Channel News Asia:19000 commuters affected by morning delay on North-South MRT
StraitsTimesAbout 19000 commuters affected by train delay on N-S line: SMRT
TodayOnline: 19000 affected by train service delay on North-South Line
ChannelNewsAsia: Morning delay on North-South MRT line
TodayOnline: 19000 stranded by third train delay in a week

related:
Rise in major breakdowns but MRT gets more reliable
Two SMRTstaff killed by an oncoming train
Train disruptions under new Minister of Transport
Train service disrupted on N-S, E-W Lines
Recap of recent Train service disruptions
Recent Train Disruptions
Transport Woes #2
Transport Woes #1
Transport Woes - A Picture Story
Mixed Reactions To Announcement Of Free MRT Rides
Strange & inappropriate behaviour on public transport
Burned by mystery liquid in trains and bus stop
SMRT subway trains recalled after defects found