Statement On The Disruptions to the Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) System
Our national transportation had been beleaguered with issues since 2011, which in the early days had mostly been only delays and unexpectedly longer travel duration. However, issues encountered recently by the SMRT were more varied, unusual and were of much greater concern.
Such concerns were overwhelming to the extent that the 30th anniversary of the inception of the MRT system in Singapore was not even mentioned as such.
It is appreciated that the Minister for Transport, Mr Khaw Boon Wan had recently cited overpopulation as being the root cause of these issues. The acceptance though is long overdue and patently insufficient. Mere acknowledgement of the possible effects of the overpopulation which could have led to the transportation system woes, should not simply end with just that.
A much more detailed and thorough study would be in order given the duration the problems pertaining the MRT system had been lingering. The study would enable the identification of the actual state of the system, especially the North-South and the East-West lines which were first opened and had been operating for 30 years.
The various avenues which could possibly have had caused the deterioration of the system should be subjected to detailed study by competent authorities with the appropriate expertise. Such expertise, if needed should be procured from other train operators with experience in handling systems of similar complexity. Failure to carry out the study could cause speculations to continue as a consequence of the specific causes on the disruptions not been clearly identified.
Not carrying out the necessary steps could also result in the gradual worsening of the system, as we had seen in the recent episodes of train service disruptions. These could cause a further waste of time and resources, and worse, linger on as a possible hazard.
As such, our Party is seeking the matter be studied by a commission tasked to inquire further into the causes of the train disruptions, in view of all the possible difficulties and the hazards faced by people.
Vice Chairman & Head of Policy Research
People’s Power Party (PPP), Singapore