CELEBRATE SG50 BY GIVING INCOMPETENT SMRT S$50 MILLION FINE?

One, SMRT’s managing director of trains Lee Ling Wee acknowledged on Channel 5′s Talking Point seven days after the disruption that the train operator “doesn’t have the organic capacity to cope with this level of disruption”, pointing to the sheer volume of commuters descending on the concourse when services stopped. He said he hoped for the matter to be addressed at a national level.

An operator asking for the problems to be addressed at the national level but keeping the profits to itself? Is it a coherent response to the public?
Can we then take it that SMRT is asking to be nationalised?

Can we also take it that all profits generated by SMRT will be contributed to LTA to run national level transport initiatives?

Is time to start thinking seriously what the maximum capacity per carriage is? Is it safe to let trains be packed (with profits for SMRT)? Note some passengers do not have proper handles to hold on. In the event of a collision, the causalities and hurt are unimaginable.

Should there be a mechanism to prevent passengers from descending onto the concourse in the event of an accident? Such a mechanism can be preset into the gantry without a need for massive manpower.

Two, SMRT has attributed the Jul 7 disruption of the North-South and East-West MRT lines (NSEWL) to “weak electrical resistance” of the train network’s third rail insulator.

SMRT seems too quick to want to say sorry, wrap up and move on?

Could SMRT explain what the reason for weak electrical resistance is?

Is it due to corrosion over time? If so, then is the maintenance programme sufficient to detect similar problems in the future?

If it is not due to corrosion, then is it due to poor choice of materials selected during installation? If so, then is SMRT procuring low quality materials? Will there be an audit of the procurement process? Should SMRT be penalised for using lousy materials that led to this major disruption?

Three, these were the conclusions of a team of independent experts from Sweden’s Parsons Brinckerhoff and Meidensha Corporation of Japan, who were recruited by LTA to look into the power supply infrastructure and railway trackside installations.

Should the experts by appointed by LTA or even MOT? Would the experts still be perceived as independent? Should the experts be appointed by another government agency instead?

Can the process of appointment be made more transparent so that the public is aware of the justifications for appointments? Finally, who would recommend the penalty for SMRT? A fine of SGD 50 million to commemorate SG50?

This report evidently seeks to provide some quick and dirty answers to placate the public. On the contrary, there seems to be a lot more questions to be asked and answered.

The most fundamental question is how did we allow the population surge to grossly exceed the capacity of the transport infrastructure?

CWC

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