Just earlier this week, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority (LTA) slapped a $1.6 million fine on train operator SMRT for four train service disruptions that occurred between October last year and May this year.
Outside this, the LTA also fine SBS Transit, which runs the North East Line (NEL), $50,000 for a disruption in March this year. According to the LTA, all the faults were preventable if “the operators had exercised due diligence and vigilance when carrying out their duties”.
Maybe the LTA were too quick on the trigger because there was another breakdown in the train service this morning.
This morning, trains on the North-South Line (NSL) going south between Toa Payoh Station to Newton Station stopped due to some fault. This has become so commonplace, this is hardly in the news anymore. You can also see this in the reaction of SMRT. They did all the right things; putting up signage at the station, providing free bus services for affected commuters; in a practiced clockwork matter.
This make me wonder just how effective are the fines. The idea behind fining the operators is that this will caused the operators to improve the train service. So far, it is not doing the job.
Trains are still breaking down, transport is still being disrupted, and no one seems able or capable of preventing them. Maybe it’s time for the Singapore government to be more creative and daring in trying to stop the breakdowns because thus far, fines are not doing the job.