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Singapore Hit by Worst-Ever Train Delays in 4 Years; Transport Operators Still Plan to Raise Fares

The number of major train service delays this year for the entire MRT network has hit a new high. The dozen incidents in the first nine months of the year already outstripping the previous high of 11 recorded in 2011.

This is according to a report released by the Land Transport Authority.

There were eight major disruptions — lasting more than 30 minutes — between January and March.

In January alone, three severe disruptions, affecting the North-South and East West Lines (NSEWL).

The LTA report also showed that between January and September, there were 36 delays lasting more than 10 minutes — matching the number for the whole of last year — and 266 delays lasting more than five minutes.

The Downtown Line experienced 19 delays lasting more than five minutes in the first three months of the year. It only started operations in December last year.

The overall train withdrawal rate has also continued to fall: The rate for the entire train network was 0.8 per 100,000km travelled in the third quarter of this year, compared with 1 per 100,000km travelled in the first half of the year. The train withdrawal rate was 2.6 in 2011 and 1.7 last year.

Transport analysts noted that major disruptions are due to structural issues that will take time to rectify. They said that while the statistics of breakdowns in Singapore’s train network compare favourably with those of other countries, the impact of disruptions on commuters here is greater given that they have fewer alternatives.

SMRT operates all of Singapore’s train lines, except for the North-East Line, which is managed by SBS.

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew has recently said that fare increases for next year will be capped at 2.8%. The Public Transport Council is reviewing the fare system and will make its recommendations in the coming months.


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