LTA FINES SMRT $1.6 MILLION FOR 4 SERVICE DISRUPTIONS IN 2013

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it intends to fine train operators SMRT and SBS Transit a total of S$1.65 million for five separate incidents between October 2013 and May this year which led to disruptions in service.

SMRT will incur a S$1.6 million penalty for four separate incidents on the North-South and East-West Lines, while SBS Transit will be fined S$50,000 for an incident on the North East Line (NEL), the LTA said in a statement on Monday (July 21).

In SMRT’s case, LTA said its investigations showed that these incidents, and the resulting service disruptions, had occurred “due to SMRT’s failure to comply with established procedures and processes”.

Said Mr Yeo Teck Guan, LTA’s Group Director of Public Transport: “LTA takes a serious view of these incidents as they were fully preventable if the operators had exercised due diligence and vigilance when carrying out their duties. Lessons from these incidents have been shared with both operators. At the same time, LTA has tightened its regulatory oversight on operators’ staff training.”

The LTA said it will further tighten oversight on the operators’ training regimes and carry out audits and checks on operators’ training processes. This step-up in regulatory oversight is to ensure operators enhance their processes to learn from incidents and deliver effective training to their staff.

LTA detailed the five incidents as follows:

OCT 9, 2013: EAST-WEST LINE (SMRT)
Train services between Boon Lay and Joo Koon in both directions were disrupted after a train passed a red signal light, damaging a track point in the process. About 10,000 passengers were affected in the incident, which lasted 70 minutes. For this, a penalty of S$400,000 will be imposed on SMRT, LTA said.

JAN 20, 2014: NORTH-SOUTH LINE (SMRT)
Southbound train services were disrupted when a train stalled between Yio Chu Kang and Ang Mo Kio stations after its on-board battery drained out. The battery had failed to charge up as two circuit breakers on board the incident train were not closed after routine nightly checks by SMRT. About 19,000 passengers were affected over 40 minutes. Fine to be imposed on SMRT: S$200,000.

JAN 22, 2014: EAST-WEST LINE (SMRT)
Train services between Expo and Tanah Merah stations were disrupted after a train passed a red signal light, damaging a track point in the process – similar to the October 2013 incident. About 10,500 passengers were affected for about an hour. Fine to be imposed on SMRT: S$900,000.

MARCH 21, 2014: NORTH EAST LINE (SBS TRANSIT)
Train services were disrupted when the Overhead Catenary System traction power supply tripped due to a staff error during maintenance work at Potong Pasir station. The 40-minute disruption affected about 5,900 commuters. Fine to be imposed on SBS Transit: S$50,000.

MAY 2, 2014: NORTH-SOUTH LINE (SMRT)
Northbound train services between Yio Chu Kang and Yishun stations were disrupted due to a traction power fault because of SMRT’s failure to remove a Short Circuiting Clamp which had been installed for sleeper replacement works that morning. About 1,000 commuters were affected for 50 minutes. Fine to be imposed on SMRT: S$100,000.

The operators could have been fined up to S$1 million per incident before March 25, 2014) and up to S$1 million or 10 per cent of the annual fare revenue of a rail line, whichever is higher, for incidents after March 25, under Section 19 of the Rapid Transit Systems (RTS) Act.

The total intended penalties of S$1.65 million will be donated to the Public Transport Fund to help needy families with transport fares, the LTA added.

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