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Transport Woes...


Alfrescian (Inf)

Stopping increases of ERP charges can lead to congestion, increased costs: S Iswaran​

Esther Au Yong
Esther Au Yong
·Finance Editor
Tue, 2 August 2022

Photo shows cars travelling on a road under an ERP gantry with a circular inset showing an arrow pointing up. (PHOTO: Getty)

Increases of ERP charges depend on traffic conditions, which are monitored by LTA. (PHOTO: Getty)
SINGAPORE – Stopping increases of Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) charges will lead to heavy congestion and inadvertently increase costs, said Minister for Transport S Iswaran.
In a written reply to a parliamentary question by Workers' Party MP Leon Perera, Iswaran said that the ERP system is a congestion management tool, to reduce time and productivity losses from traffic congestion by encouraging motorists to plan their routes and travel times.
"Halting ERP increases will lead to heavy congestion and inadvertently increase costs. As an example, logistics drivers will have to spend more time on the road, which raises not only their fuel costs but also shipping and delivery costs, and consumers may ultimately bear such costs indirectly," Iswaran said.

Perera had asked the Minister for Transport about the rationale for increasing ERP charges in May and June, and the impact of these higher charges on traffic congestion. He also asked about the effect of the higher charges on the Consumer Price Index and whether any further increases to the ERP charges this year can be halted in view of high petrol prices and general inflation.

LTA reviews ERP rates, based on traffic speeds​

"The Land Transport Authority (LTA) regularly reviews ERP rates based on observed traffic speeds on ERP-priced roads. ERP rates are increased when traffic speeds fall below optimal levels, and decreased when they are above optimal levels," said Iswaran. "The adjustments of ERP rates in May were part of this regular exercise. At the same time, LTA also announced the temporary reduction in ERP rates for the June school holidays and their restoration at the end of the holidays. This is done as part of LTA’s twice-yearly school holiday reviews in June and December when rates are temporarily reduced, given that congestion typically eases in some timeslots and locations during the school holidays."
The minister also added that based on the same principle, ERP was suspended across all gantries and time slots in March 2020 during the circuit breaker period.
"From July 2020, LTA has gradually introduced ERP charges, which currently apply at a total of 35 timeslots across nine locations," he said.
Before the COVID pandemic, ERP was chargeable at 173 timeslots across 29 locations.
"With all workers now allowed to return to the workplace as per pre-COVID norms, more traffic congestion is to be expected. LTA will thus continue to monitor traffic speeds, and adjust ERP rates accordingly to target traffic congestion," Iswaran said.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Bus and train fare formula to be reviewed; any changes will be applied next year​


Any changes to the public transport fare adjustment formula and mechanism will be applied in 2023, said the PTC. PHOTO: ST FILE

Kok Yufeng
Transport Correspondent

Aug 15, 2022

SINGAPORE - The way that bus and train fares are calculated will be reviewed to account for changes in commuting patterns, and to balance fare affordability and the financial sustainability of the public transport sector.
The Public Transport Council (PTC) said this on Monday (Aug 15) as it announced the start of its review process, aiming to complete it by the first half of next year.
Any changes made to the public transport fare adjustment formula and mechanism will be applied to the fare review exercise in 2023, the PTC added.
It will be consulting commuters, public transport operators, the labour movement and transport experts for the review.
The current formula will remain for the upcoming fare review later this year.
The formula puts a cap on how much public transport fares here can be adjusted each year. It comprises five component indicators that take into account core inflation, energy prices, wage increases, productivity and the network capacity of the public transport system.
The formula is typically reviewed once every five years, said the PTC, which is led by Nominated MP Janet Ang, and comprises 16 other members from academic institutions, business, grassroots organisations, labour unions and professional services who are appointed by the Ministry of Transport (MOT).

The last time there was a formula review, the network capacity factor (NCF) was introduced in 2018 to better reflect operating costs borne by public transport operators due to capacity adjustments - such as running more trains and buses over longer distances for less crowded and more convenient rides, for instance.
The PTC on Monday laid out the terms of reference for its latest review.
It will first look at the effectiveness of the current fare formula, in consideration of the changes in the public transport industry and commuting patterns.

Last year, former PTC chairman Richard Magnus highlighted the growing phenomenon of people working from home, but said then that the long-term trend is still not clear.
Due to Covid-19, public transport ridership in Singapore fell to as low as 25 per cent of pre-pandemic levels during the circuit breaker in April and May 2020.
While numbers have since bounced back after pandemic restrictions were largely eased, they are still below pre-Covid-19 levels.
The PTC said it will also propose ways to better balance between keeping fares affordable and ensuring the financial sustainability of the public transport system.

This issue came up in Parliament earlier this year during the debate on MOT's budget, when Transport Minister S. Iswaran and Workers' Party MP Jamus Lim engaged in a lengthy exchange over whether public transport could be made free for all seniors and people with disabilities.
Mr Iswaran pointed out that the Government currently spends more than $2 billion annually in subsidies for public transport commuters - about $1 billion for bus operations and $1 billion for train ones.
He also noted that shifting work and travel patterns, an ageing population and volatile energy prices will impact public transport over the next decade.
In December last year, bus and train fares were raised by 2.2 per cent - or three to four cents for adults and one cent for seniors, students, people with disabilities and low-wage workers.
This was because of a 4.4 per cent fare hike that was carried over from 2020.
The maximum allowable fare adjustment last year was actually -2.2 per cent based on the current formula.
The fare increase could have been much higher - 51.5 per cent - had the PTC not excluded the NCF in the fare formula for 11 out of the 12 months in 2020 to account for the exceptionally sharp drop in ridership due to Covid-19.
The PTC has said that it will continue to exclude this drop in ridership when calculating the NCF for this year's fare review.


Alfrescian (Inf)

ComfortDelGro Driver Sacked After Dropping Pregnant Woman Off At Wrong Location, She Was With 2 Kids​

By The Must Share News Team - 23 Aug 2022, 11:42 am

ComfortDelGro Driver Terminated For Unprofessional Behaviour​

A heavily pregnant woman who recently travelled via a ComfortDelGro cab with her two children found herself in a situation that’s anything but comfortable.
While she had indicated her destination as Yishun, the taxi driver dropped them off at Toa Payoh before leaving the scene.

Source: Facebook
Following the incident, ComfortDelGro sacked the driver, calling such behaviour “unacceptable”.

Pregnant passenger informed preferred route, but ComfortDelGro driver declined​

In a Facebook post shared by the pregnant woman’s husband, the incident happened on Sunday (21 Aug) at about 10pm.

Source: Facebook

The husband said he booked a cab for his heavily pregnant wife and two children via the CDG Zig app. The trio were apparently at Marsiling then, and the ride was for them to return to their home in Yishun.
When the woman and her kids were walking toward the taxi, the driver was said to have lit his cigarette and told the three passengers to wait inside the vehicle.
The wait apparently lasted more than five minutes before the driver returned and started driving.
As the fare for the ride wasn’t fixed, the mother requested the driver to follow her preferred route, which goes from BKE to SLE, before turning into Mandai.
In response, the driver proposed travelling via CTE. But the mother declined as it was “clearly out of the way”.
While the mother was occupied with her two sleepy toddlers and not paying full attention to the route taken, the driver reportedly drove past an SLE entrance towards PIE.
Sensing something was amiss, the woman checked her map and asked the driver,
Uncle, I say Yishun. Why you want to go towards Toa Payoh?
The driver claimed that Mandai was just right ahead. But according to the post, it was clear that the vehicle was heading toward Lornie Road/Braddell.

ComfortDelGro driver dropped pregnant woman & 2 kids at Toa Payoh​

For unknown reasons, the driver then asked the mother how much it’d typically cost her to travel from Marsiling to Yishun.
After she responded that it typically costs less than S$20, the driver got “angsty” and said,
Like that I drop you off at Toa Payoh. You go take another cab, I don’t want to drive you! I wanna go back home I stay at Toa Payoh. You are wasting my time and petrol.
Due to the sudden refusal, the heavily pregnant woman started experiencing panic attacks and shortness of breath.
She then decided to call her husband and put him on speaker so he could talk to the driver. Over the phone, the husband instructed the driver to send the trio back to Yishun, but the cabbie apparently refused.
Soon after, the driver dropped the three of them off somewhere in Toa Payoh.
Despite being emotionally distressed, the mother eventually called customer service and lodged a complaint.
The customer service officer seemingly struggled to grasp the situation at first but eventually acknowledged the traumatic experience after the mother recounted the incident in full.

Ending the post, the OP demanded a refund for the ride, as well as an explanation and an update on the actions taken against the driver.

Taxi driver sacked for “unacceptable” behaviour​

In response to MS News’ queries, ComfortDelGro group chief branding and communications officer Tammy Tan said the driver’s behaviour was “unacceptable”.
The company has since terminated the driver’s hiring agreement and is currently in contact with the passenger and her husband to offer support.
Ms Tan stressed that their cabbies are expected to be professional by taking the right or preferred routes and completing every trip they take.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Bus, train fare adjustments should be conditional on operators hitting key metrics​


Aug 25, 2022

While it is understandable that public transport fares are adjusted to reflect inevitable changes in operating costs and ridership patterns, the wisdom of repeated tinkering and sweeping formula changes is debatable (Bus, train fare formula to be reviewed; any changes will be applied from 2023, Aug 16).
There is a real risk of frequent fare increases becoming a band-aid solution for structural deficiencies within public transport operators.
Companies have little incentive to improve, streamline or innovate if they can expect regular revenue hikes to cover their financial shortcomings.
This is especially given the nature of public transit in Singapore, where few routes run in direct competition.
Perhaps the Land Transport Authority could make fare adjustments conditional on public transport operators hitting stipulated targets for cost-per-passenger-kilometre, vehicle dispatch reliability, on-time performance and other key metrics.
After all, the soul of a public transport system lies in lean and efficient operations.

Paul Chan Poh Hoi


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Drivers of vans and lorries parked near HDB blocks disregard law on idling vehicles​

SEP 14, 2022

Over the years, MPs have discussed problems with second-hand smoke and diesel exhaust. I have lived next to a carpark for many years, and these problems constitute serious health hazards.
From smokers standing below the block and from nearby motorists, smoke wafts into flats that are four or five floors above.
A similar problem exists with van and lorry drivers who let their vehicle motors run idle. When parked below flat windows, the idling vehicles fill flats with cancer-causing diesel fumes.
Smoking at HDB void decks and common areas is prohibited, as is leaving vehicle engines idling.
However, when I politely ask them to comply with the law, many smokers and lorry drivers become hostile or feign ignorance.
Sometimes, lorry drivers run their diesel engines for more than an hour while they eat, make calls or sleep inside their vehicles.
Even when I identify violators and take photos and videos of their vehicles and licence plates, action is not actively taken.

Often, one agency refers me to another that in turn refers me to a third or fourth for enforcement.
There needs to be clear enforcement of laws on idling engines. One agency needs to be put in charge and crack down on violators. This could include using cameras which can accurately recognise faces and licence plates.
Large and visible anti-smoking and anti-vehicle-idling signs need to be clearly painted on carpark surfaces and skirting.

Eric J. Brooks


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Not easy for private-hire drivers to seek redress for fare evasion​

SEP 21, 2022

I am a private-hire driver who has finally decided to seek redress after experiencing my fourth case of fare evasion this year.
Fare evasion is an offence, but my attempts to lodge a report have not been successful.
The ride-hailing operator insists that it cannot resolve the case without being informed in writing by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to do so.
The police informed me that they would not be investigating my case and could only lodge a report on my behalf.
The LTA does not permit walk-in appointments, and also does not provide the option of making an appointment online for fare evasion cases. I called its hotline and managed to speak to an employee after a long wait, but was told that he could not make an appointment on my behalf. What ensued was me being bounced from one employee to another over the next four days.
After speaking to other private-hire drivers, it seems cases of fare evasion are not uncommon, but many do not want to go through the hassle of corresponding with the LTA. Given the under-reporting, I wonder how pervasive the offence is.
Why is fare evasion within the LTA's purview when it seems ill equipped to resolve such cases?

Ng Li Meng


Alfrescian (Inf)

Track faults hit Bukit Panjang LRT, North-South Line​


The Straits Times understands the track faults were unrelated. PHOTO: ST FILE

Tay Hong Yi

Sep 22, 2022

SINGAPORE - A track fault on the Bukit Panjang LRT on Wednesday evening meant service ran in only one direction instead of the usual two.
In a tweet sent at 6.14pm, operator SMRT said train service was available at all stations along Service B due to a track fault.
This meant that Service A , which runs in the opposite direction and only during peak hours on weekdays, was not available.
Bukit Panjang LRT, which starts at Choa Chu Kang,enters a loop at Bukit Panjang station.
In Service B, which runs throughout the day, the loop runs from Petir station through Pending, Bangkit, Fajar, Segar, Jelapang and Senja before returning to Bukit Panjang.
Under an interim arrangement lasting till 2024 to facilitate the ongoing renewal of the line, Service A travels the loop in the opposite direction from the start of service to 9am on weekday mornings and from 5pm to 8pm on weekday evenings.
Service A does not run on weekends and public holidays.

This is the second track fault on an SMRT line reported on the same day, with a track fault on the North-South Line causing delays of up to 15 minutes between Yishun and Toa Payoh MRT stations on Wednesday morning.
The Straits Times understands the track faults were unrelated.
The North-South Line fault was first reported by SMRT in a 6.02am tweet.
Free regular bus services were activated between Yishun and Toa Payoh stations, said the operator.
It later said in an update on Twitter at 6.53am that the fault was cleared and train services were progressively restored.
By 7am, service had been restored and the free bus services ceased.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: URA and HDB should use the same app for parking​

Sep 28, 2022

To pay for parking at an Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) carpark, visitors use the Parking.sg app. For parking at Housing Board carparks, visitors use the Parking@HDB app.
Trying to find a carpark is already stressful. Now we have to figure out whether we are in a URA carpark or an HDB carpark and use the right app. In this sense, tearing coupons may be more user-friendly as both URA and HDB use the same system.
The OneService app and OneMotoring app each streamlines services under one app.
URA and HDB should just come up with one app for parking.

Patrick Tan Siong Kuan


Alfrescian (Inf)

Students, housewives and retirees are less satisfied with taxis and private-hire cars: Study​


The level of satisfaction among the non-working commuters for taxis and private-hire cars fell 5.8 per cent from 2021. ST PHOTO: THADDEUS ANG

Lee Nian Tjoe
Senior Transport Correspondent

SEP 28, 2022

SINGAPORE - Students, housewives, retirees and the unemployed are significantly less satisfied with using taxis and private-hire services to get around in 2022 than they were in 2021.
But public buses and the MRT managed to maintain their customer satisfaction score at 2021 levels.
These are among the research findings from the 2022 Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore published by the Institute of Service Excellence (ISE) at Singapore Management University. The findings focused on the land transport sector, which comprises the MRT and public buses as well as taxis and private-hire cars.
This is part of a larger annual study that started in 2007 which covers various industry sectors.
Online interviews were conducted with 2,350 local residents between April and July 2022.
The level of satisfaction among the non-working commuters for taxis and private-hire cars fell from 76.5 points in 2021 to 72.1 points – a decrease of 5.8 per cent. These are respondents who do not have any form of employment.
When the responses from those who are working were included, the overall score for taxis and private-hire cars is marginally better than in 2021 – by 0.4 per cent.

Respondents who are not employed gave comparatively lower scores than those who are working, especially when it comes to the perception of value relating to using taxis and private-hire cars.
Those not working also gave significantly poorer scores than employed respondents when it comes to their level of satisfaction with the "ease of getting a ride" and "waiting for a ride".
Ms Neeta Lachmandas, executive director of ISE, said the scoring for taxis and private-hire cars would have been affected by the smaller number of such vehicles on the road and the higher fees charged by the operators.

She added that those who are not working "presumably have a smaller tolerance for such discretionary spending".
The survey period coincided with rising demand for land transport that came with the lifting of pandemic-related restrictions on group sizes and work arrangements.
Public buses and the MRT achieved similar scores as in 2021.
As at the last week of April 2022, it was reported that MRT and bus ridership hit 78 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels. This was up by more than 10 percentage points from what it was in January.
From the responses, the study found that the frequency of the services is among the top three drivers of commuters' perception for both the MRT and public buses.

Other key concerns include cleanliness, ride comfort for the MRT, while public bus users rate ease of boarding and moving within the buses highly.
In addition, the study found that fewer people are working from home in 2022 than in 2021. The majority have indicated that they will return to the workplace in the next 12 months, suggesting that there will be even more demand for land transport.
Among the bus and MRT commuters polled, 38.4 per cent said they expect to take more rides; 6.7 per cent indicated that they are expecting to take fewer rides.
Ms Lachmandas said based on the findings, transport operators may wish to start calibrating their infrastructure and services to meet the anticipated resurgence in demand.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Improve insurance process for accidents involving foreign cars​

Oct 13, 2022

My car was recently hit by a Malaysian car in Singapore, and the accident was recorded by my in-vehicle camera. Both parties made a police report in Singapore.
While looking for an authorised workshop for the repair, most of the local workshops told me that they do not make third-party claims against foreign motorists. They also cannot make cross-border claims, so I would have to contact the Malaysian car insurer directly.
Engaging a lawyer to sue the other party is an option but this may not be viable, as it involves different jurisdictions and is definitely more costly than the repair work.
Hence, despite having video evidence that the accident had been caused by the other party, I had to make an own damage claim. This directly affects my insurance premiums and my no-claim discount.
In cases like these, where the accident was no fault of ours, drivers should not be penalised.
I would appreciate it if the General Insurance Association of Singapore could look into this.

Ng Chee Wee


Alfrescian (Inf)

MRT train services resume after three-hour disruption on North-South Line during morning peak​

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SMRT advised passengers to take the Circle Line or the Thomson-East Coast Line instead. PHOTO: SMRT/FACEBOOK
Kok Yufeng and Yong Li Xuan




OCT 19, 2022

SINGAPORE - Commuters travelling along the North-South Line (NSL) on Wednesday morning had their journeys disrupted after a faulty engineering vehicle got stuck near Yishun station, causing trains to stop running between Yio Chu Kang and Canberra towards Jurong East.
The disruption, which lasted for more than three hours, was first reported by SMRT in a tweet at 5.46am.
The public transport operator said there was a track fault, adding that commuters would need to add 15 minutes to their train rides between Ang Mo Kio and Woodlands. Free regular bus and bridging bus services were activated between the two stations in both directions.
SMRT said in another tweet at 6.42am that there was no train service from Yio Chu Kang to Canberra. South-bound train service on the NSL was still available from Jurong East to Marina South Pier.
The operator advised passengers to avoid taking the train between Ang Mo Kio and Woodlands, and to take the Circle Line or the Thomson-East Coast Line instead.
In a Facebook post at 7.30am, SMRT said a faulty engineering vehicle that was deployed during maintenance hours could not be moved from the northbound platform near Yishun station at about 4.30am. Engineers had to be deployed to the site to resolve the issue.
SMRT added that it had stopped northbound train services from Yio Chu Kang to Canberra for its engineers to access the faulty vehicle. They decided to withdraw the vehicle to the depot after train services end on Wednesday night. In the meantime, trains are able to bypass it.

Train services from Yio Chu Kang to Canberra gradually returned to normal from 7.45am, before resuming regular operations at about 8.50am.
While there were free bridging bus services available during the disruption, a commuter posted on Tata SMRT, a Facebook community page for public transport users, that there were not enough bridging buses and advised others to get alternative transport.

Photos posted on social media showed MRT station platforms and bus stops along the NSL that were packed to the gills, as commuters tried to board trains and buses that were already full of people.

Mr Dennis Hong, 41, waited for more than an hour before he managed to board a train at Bukit Gombak station to travel two stops to Jurong East, as he needed to switch to the Circle Line at Buona Vista to reach his workplace in one-north.
The engineer said he found out about the train service disruption only when he reached Bukit Gombak station at 7.25am and heard an announcement. He said trains arrived at 15-minute intervals, but all of them were packed, so he could board one only at about 8.35am.
“The platform was very crowded and some people had to resort to squeezing themselves onto the trains,” he said, adding that SMRT should have put up notices to let commuters know about the longer intervals, especially since it knew there was an issue as early as 4.30am.

Commuters waiting to enter the platform at Khatib MRT station during an MRT track fault on Oct 19, 2022. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM
Mr Hong also noted that there are no direct buses from Bukit Gombak heading to Jurong East, and suggested that at least one bus service should be introduced to ply this route.
He added: “The previous delays I remember weren’t as bad as this. I was supposed to reach work early, but ended up being late.”
Mr Gabriel Lim, 24, was heading to Yishun from Paya Lebar, but had to alight at Yio Chu Kang station to take a bus to continue his journey north.
The fast-food worker said the bus stop near the station was very crowded, with everyone squeezing to get onto buses.

The traffic situation along Yishun Avenue 2 at the Khatib MRT station bus stop during an MRT track fault on Oct 19, 2022. ST PHOTO: FELINE LIM
Ms Low Siew Peng, 28, who takes the bus from Yishun to Woodlands to get to work, said she was 15 minutes late as she had to wait for four buses to pass before she could get on one at her stop opposite Darul Makmur Mosque.
The accountant said she saw passengers standing at the upper deck of some double-decker buses, which were packed with people.
“It was a bad experience, plus it was raining this morning. They should provide more buses and announce (the disruption) early so we can plan ahead,” she added.
Wednesday’s disruption was the first major one under new SMRT group chief executive Ngien Hoon Ping, who took over on Aug 1.
There have been at least two other train disruptions on the NSL this year. In July, a train fault caused delays of up to 25 minutes between Kranji and Jurong East. In September, a track fault led to delays of up to 15 minutes between Yishun and Toa Payoh.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: It takes too long to get parking label for those with mobility issues​

Oct 20, 2022

My partner recently fractured his leg and wrist in an accident and underwent surgery.
We applied for a Class 2 parking label under the Car Park Label Scheme, which allows vehicles to park in accessible parking spaces for up to 60 minutes to allow passengers with mobility impairment to alight or board.
The application took more than a month to process, which is way too long. This is especially so as patients are typically discharged from hospital for home recovery just a few days after the operation.
Once the application has been approved, the applicant is allowed to park in accessible spaces while waiting for the label to arrive by mail.
But without the pass, it is not clearly visible to other users of parking spaces that the person parking in the accessible space is allowed to do so. This may create unnecessary tension and misunderstanding among residents.
The current processes should be reviewed to shorten the time required to process an application.
The approval letter stated that all prevailing parking charges apply. Given the logistical and administrative stress of transporting and attending to a passenger with mobility impairment, perhaps the parking charges for the 60-minute time limit could be waived, as Singapore moves towards a more socially inclusive and caring society.

Edwin Goh


Alfrescian (Inf)

Flooding at Tanah Merah MRT station entrance during heavy rain on Saturday​


Zhaki Abdullah

Nov 12, 2022

SINGAPORE - Water from a nearby construction site caused flooding at the entrance of Tanah Merah MRT station during the downpour on Saturday afternoon, rail operator SMRT said.
Videos circulating on social media showed commuters wading through ankle-high water at the entrance of the station in New Upper Changi Road.
“On Nov 12 at around 3pm, water from a construction site next to Tanah Merah MRT station caused flooding at the entrance of the station,” said SMRT Trains president Lam Sheau Kai.
“Our staff worked with cleaners and the construction site workers to clear the water immediately,” Mr Lam said in an e-mail to The Straits Times.
“For the safety of commuters, our staff were also mobilised to guide them away from the affected area,” he said, noting the water was cleared by around 5pm.
SMRT is working with the construction site supervisors to prevent the situation from recurring, he added.
Train service was not affected.

In a Facebook post, national water agency PUB warned that there was a risk of flash floods in several parts of the island on Saturday afternoon, with water levels in drains reaching 90 per cent in areas such as Jalan Boon Lay, Lorong Gambir and Bedok Canal near Upper Changi Road.
The weatherman said on Nov 1 that Singapore had the wettest October in 40 years, and the rainy spell was set to continue into the first two weeks of November, with thundery showers expected on most days.



Alfrescian (Inf)

Outer boundary wall of late billionaire Ng Teng Fong’s mansion collapses, causing congestion on Dunearn Rd​


A section of the boundary wall of the former residence of late tycoon Ng Teng Fong collapsed on Sunday. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

The debris from the wall collapse caused Dunearn Road to be temporarily closed. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO


A section of the boundary wall of the former residence of late tycoon Ng Teng Fong collapsed on Sunday. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Shabana Begum

NOV 13, 2022

SINGAPORE – Part of the boundary wall of the former residence of late billionaire Ng Teng Fong collapsed on Sunday afternoon, pouring debris over all three lanes of Dunearn Road.
The concrete debris caused Dunearn Road to be temporarily closed.
Ms Ng Siok Giok, the daughter of Mr Ng, said she was alerted to the collapse of the wall around 4pm and “immediately mobilised a professional structural engineer”.
“We are working closely with the authorities – the affected area is cordoned off and we are working to stabilise the surroundings.
“The engineer is also investigating the cause of the wall collapse. We are thankful that there are no injuries and we will engage our engineer to conduct additional inspections on the other boundary wall to ensure safety,” she added.
Engineers from the Building and Construction Authority were also on the scene to assess the damage.
Various parts of Singapore saw heavy downpours on Sunday afternoon and evening, with the drainage levels in Dunearn Road and Hillcrest Road reaching 100 per cent around 3.20pm.

National water agency PUB warned on Sunday that the area had a high flood risk.
Mr Ng Teng Fong was a prominent real estate tycoon who founded Far East Organization in the 1960s. He died in 2010 after suffering a brain haemorrhage.


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2½ hour train disruption on North East Line due to signalling fault​

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Commuters at Potong Pasir station, after a signalling fault led to longer train journeys, on Nov 15, 2022. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Aqil Hamzah

NOV 15, 2022

SINGAPORE - A signalling fault halted the train service between Boon Keng and Potong Pasir on the North East Line towards HarbourFront on Tuesday evening.
In a tweet sent at 6.37pm, operator SBS Transit told commuters to add 10 minutes to their train ride.
A follow-up tweet sent at 6.53pm said commuters could expect their train rides to take about 20 minutes longer.
As at 7.13pm, SBS Transit said that free bus rides had been made available at designated bus stops from HarbourFront to Farrer Park.
The operator then recommended that commuters at HarbourFront, Outram Park, Chinatown, Dhoby Ghaut, Little India and Serangoon stations use other MRT lines instead.
Mrs Grace Wu, SBS Transit’s vice-president for customer experience and communications, said trains had to be manually driven at a much slower speed as they travelled from Potong Pasir to Boon Keng due to the signalling fault on the tracks at Potong Pasir station.
“This initially added an extra 10 minutes to travel time but it later increased to 20 minutes due to the slow travelling speed at the affected sector,” she said.

A commuter posted on Tata SMRT – a Facebook community page for public transport users – that there was hardly any space for them to manoeuvre, as the platform was packed with people waiting for the evening train.
Prior to arriving at Dhoby Ghaut station, the train stopped momentarily in the tunnel, said Ms Zeen Tng, who was on her way to a dinner meeting.
“When the train arrived at the station, it was quite bad. It stopped moving there too and everyone was packed like sardines since the train and the station were full,” said the 23-year-old, who works in the advertising industry.
Student Gabriel Foong said the train issues seemed to have cropped up earlier, at about 6.15pm.
The 23-year-old had boarded the train at Little India, and the train had stopped at the station for longer than usual.
“While the train was moving to Dhoby Ghaut, I could hear a loud rattling sound even though I was listening to my music at full blast,” he said.
“The rattling got so bad that an SBS Transit staff member standing in between two cabins told us commuters to shift to the back of the train.”
In an update at 8.52pm, SBS Transit said that normal train service had resumed as engineers carried out interim repairs to a damaged signalling cable.
Full repair works will continue during engineering hours on Wednesday morning and investigations into the incident are ongoing.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Power fault halts train service on stretch of Bukit Panjang LRT network​


The Bukit Panjang LRT service starts at Choa Chu Kang and enters a loop at Bukit Panjang station. PHOTO: ST FILE
Gabrielle Chan

NOV 18, 2022

SINGAPORE - A traction power fault halted train service between Fajar and Bangkit stations on the outer loop of the Bukit Panjang Light Rail Transit (LRT) network for a few minutes on Friday morning before it was resolved.
In a tweet sent at 5.33am, operator SMRT told commuters that a power fault had occurred at Fajar LRT station, adding that Service A trains were moving slower towards Bukit Panjang.
A follow-up tweet sent at 5.49am said train service along Service B was still running and available at all stations.
A total of 17 commuters were able to disembark safely at Bangkit LRT station five minutes after the fault was discovered at 5.15am, SMRT said in a Facebook post at around 11am.
It added that staff were immediately deployed to the train stalled between Bangkit and Fajar stations to assist passengers, and in-train and station announcements were made to advise commuters of the delay.
In September, a track fault on the Bukit Panjang LRT caused train services to run in only one direction. Service A, which runs only during peak hours on weekdays, was not available at the time of the track fault.
The Bukit Panjang LRT service starts at Choa Chu Kang and enters a loop at Bukit Panjang station.

For Service B, which runs throughout the day, the loop runs from Petir station through Pending, Bangkit, Fajar, Segar, Jelapang and Senja before returning to Bukit Panjang.
Service A sees the trains going in the other direction from the start of service to 9am on weekday mornings and from 5pm to 8pm on weekday evenings.
Service A does not run on weekends and public holidays.



Alfrescian (Inf)
100,000 vehicles pass through the checkpoint everyday but only 66 fines issued.
And fines not issued for violations committed over days, weeks, months, and years.
LTA know how to wayang just before Parliament session.

66 fines issued to errant motorbike riders at Woodlands Checkpoint​


Those with foreign-registered vehicles who flout the rules may face penalties or be denied entry at the land checkpoints. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Osmond Chia

Nov 29, 2022

SINGAPORE – As part of an enforcement blitz near the Woodlands Checkpoint on Monday, 66 fines were issued to motorcyclists over vehicular offences.
Of these, 25 riders were fined for excessive noise emissions from their motorbikes, according to a joint statement on Tuesday by the National Environment Agency (NEA), the police and the Land Transport Authority.
Twenty-four riders were also fined for fitting their bikes with improper licence plates and flouting other technical and regulatory requirements.
The authorities fined 13 riders for riding without a valid licence and using a motor vehicle without insurance coverage, while another four motorcyclists were fined for smoke emissions.
The sting was part of a joint enforcement operation that inspected 88 vehicles near the checkpoint in a multi-agency effort to remind motorists to follow Singapore’s environmental and road safety regulations. It is not clear how many fines were issued to local and foreign-registered vehicles.
Roughly 100,000 vehicles pass through the checkpoint each day.
The authorities said that all vehicles that enter Singapore, including foreign-registered vehicles, must comply with safety and emission requirements. The licence plates on these vehicles must also be properly displayed.

Those with foreign-registered vehicles who flout the rules may face penalties or be denied entry at the land checkpoints.
Incoming riders may soon have to conduct their own tests to ensure their vehicles meet the required emission standards here. This is a new enforcement concept that the NEA intends to trial in order to better tackle the issue of pollutive motorbikes.
On Aug 25, NEA put up a tender calling for a self-testing facility to be set up at Woodlands Checkpoint. This comes as stricter emissions limits are set to kick in from April 6 next year for all foreign motorcycles, as well as local motorcycles registered before July 1, 2003.
According to the tender documents, the proposed facility will have probes that can be inserted into any motorcycle’s tailpipe to test for emissions. An emissions meter will be able to measure both hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide levels in the bike’s exhaust fumes.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Buying a new car? Expect to pay more with vehicle registration fee rising by 59% from $220 to $350​


The LTA said the hike was necessary to keep up with administrative costs. PHOTO: ST FILE

Christopher Tan
Senior Transport Correspondent

DEC 7, 2022

SINGAPORE - The cost of owning a vehicle is set to be even higher with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) raising vehicle-related fees from Dec 19.
In a letter sent on Dec 5 to motor traders, which was obtained by The Straits Times, the LTA said 25 fees and charges will rise from Dec 19.
They include fees for vehicle registration as well as those for certificate of entitlement (COE) transfers, vehicle-type approvals and vehicle recall notifications.
LTA said the hikes were necessary to keep up with administrative costs, adding that the last revision was in 2017.
Most fees will be increased by between 10 and 25 per cent, with the vehicle registration fee seeing the sharpest spike at 59 per cent.
This fee, which is payable each time a new vehicle is registered for use in Singapore, will go up from $220 to $350.
It was raised periodically over the years. The fee was $140 in 2000 and then increased to $220 in 2017 – a 57 per cent hike.

For motorcycles, the registration fee was $5 before 1998.
Given that 45,000 to 125,000 new vehicles are registered each year, the increase in the registration fee alone could add $5.9 million to $16.3 million to LTA’s revenue.
Motor traders were surprised by the LTA move, which comes as COE premiums remain at near record levels and core inflation stays high.
Mr Neo Nam Heng, chairman of diversified motor group Prime, said: “Everything is increasing – from vehicle inspection to chicken rice. This will only add to costs, which may be passed on to consumers.”
Mr Nicholas Wong, general manager of Honda agent Kah Motor, said: “I think in this period of high COE prices and poor market sentiment, it is bad timing for the increase.”
An ST report showed that car buyers have been shying away from showrooms amid sky-high COE prices, with scores of car sales staff leaving the industry as well.
Added Mr Wong: “The most impactful is the increase in registration fee from $220 to $350 – this is a 59 per cent jump! I think it’s not justifiable, and adds to the inflation rate. Dealers will have to absorb these costs.”
Mr Neo Tiam Ting, director of parallel importer Think One, said: “Under current costing, there would be no change. But moving forward, when dealers redo their costing, they will include this increase. Most dealers include it (the registration fee) in the packaged price.”
Mr Norman Lee, a director at motorcycle retailer Race Werks, said: “Isn’t it ironic that most LTA services are already digitised, online or self-service.
“Yet, over the years, such costs have had to rise, instead of falling because of cost savings and increased productivity?”


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Do more to deter touts who take advantage of accident victims to jack up costs​

Dec 24, 2022

I am a lawyer who handles road accident claims. Road touting has become a serious and, unfortunately, profitable business.
These touts swoop in right after an accident. They know which roads are the busiest and where accidents are more likely to occur.
Their offer of help comes with a few enticements. First, they will make things convenient and settle everything. Second, they have workshops and surveyors, sometimes unqualified ones, who are prepared to jack up repair costs for a bigger cut. And third, the car owners can get a complete makeover of their cars even for minor dents. At times, willing car owners are paid for playing along.
Indeed, where there’s honey, the bees will come. However, the cost to justice is paid by the accident victims, the insurance companies and car owners who pay car insurance premiums.
When such bogus claims rise, insurance payouts increase. Over time, premiums also rise. It’s a shared financial woe because of the acts of a few rogue freeloaders.
Most accident victims are also being exploited. These touts strike when victims are most vulnerable, right after a collision. They hijack from them what is most crucial: the victim’s autonomy. In turn, they offer them “peace of mind” in the guise of a rescuer, when what they are after is a lucrative payout.
I am sure that some are jailed for making these fraudulent claims. But a strong message of deterrence has not been sent, since cases appear to still be rampant.

I have clients who shared with me that they were led from the accident site to the workshops, then to a police post to lodge a report, and then made to sign documents without knowing their full content.
I feel that more has to be done in this area. And I hope this raises awareness for those who may be the next victims of such touts.

Michael Han Hean Juan


Alfrescian (Inf)

Nightly illegal parking of vans, lorries outside some migrant worker dorms​

1 of 2

Over a 500m distance on both sides of Woodlands Road, mini-lorries and vans were seen parked illegally on the pavement and grass verge. ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN


Vans and mini-lorries illegally parked in Woodlands Road, as seen by ST since December 2022


Zaihan Mohamed Yusof

Jan 1, 2023

SINGAPORE - Mini-lorries and vans parked illegally on pavements in Woodlands Road have damaged kerb surfaces and grass patches, which have become water-filled ruts.
Similarly, in Seletar Link – close to Marina Country Club – and in North Coast Avenue off Admiralty Road West, parking violations have been noticed every night since early December.
Throughout the month, The Sunday Times has observed illegally parked vehicles in Woodlands Road outside Kranji Lodge 1, near Kranji MRT station.
Drivers of light goods vehicles mount kerbs and park on the grass verge along a 500m stretch on both sides of the road, affecting cyclists and pedestrians.
Cyclist Emily Chia said she avoids the area, adding that many heavy vehicles ply Woodlands Road.
Ms Chia, 42, said: “We (she and her cycling buddies) used to ride our ‘foldie’ bicycles on the pavement there. But with illegally parked vehicles on the pavement, we are forced to get back on the road for that stretch.”
Some migrant workers living at the nearby Kranji Lodge 1 who are transported back to the dormitory on these heavy vehicles risk injury – they have been seen jumping off the rear of lorries as the vehicles mount the kerbs at a bus bay nearby. Sometimes, the vehicles are parked on the pavement close to the bus stop or at the bus bay.

Construction worker M. Suresh, who regularly sits on grass patches in the area to eat his meals, said he is often forced to get up while eating and walk away when vehicles park illegally there.
Mr Suresh, 28, a resident of Kranji Lodge 1, said: “Every day, between 8pm and 11pm, we have to move to safer areas like under the stairs of the overhead bridge (to avoid the returning vans).”
It is illegal to park near traffic lights, filter lanes, grass verges, footways and bus stops. Vehicles are also not allowed to park abreast on roads. First-time offenders can be fined $70 for parking on a grass verge or in roads with double yellow lines. Light vehicles that park abreast face a $120 fine.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Friday that 142,497 parking violations were issued in 2019 to all vehicles. From January to November 2022, 86,036 summonses were issued, compared with 112,065 in 2021.
The Sunday Times had asked LTA on Dec 13 how many summonses had been issued to drivers for illegal parking in Woodlands Road and what could be done to curb illegal parking there.

In North Coast Avenue, vans and mini-lorries are parked illegally on the road, which is close to North Coast Lodge dormitory. ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF
LTA said it was aware of the situation in Woodlands Road and that it uses closed-circuit television and parking wardens as enforcement tools. It also receives feedback from the public.
An LTA spokesman said: “We take a serious view of illegal parking and will continue to enforce against such offences to ensure the safety of road users. We urge all motorists to adhere to prevailing rules and do their part in fostering a safer road environment.”
A construction company owner, who has 40 foreign workers living at Kranji Lodge 1 and at a dormitory in Tuas, said illegal parking in Woodlands Road has been going on for months. He owns three lorries to ferry workers and equipment to work sites.
The 51-year-old, who gave his name only as Mr Mohamed, said: “By the time my workers finish their work at night, there would normally be no parking spaces at the dorm. To ask our drivers, who stay at the dorm, to drive back to the company to drop off the lorry and then return to the dorm is unfair to them.”

A pedestrian in Woodlands Road passing spots where illegally parked vans and mini-lorries have damaged kerbs and left deep ruts on grass patches. ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF
The more than 70 parking spaces at Kranji Lodge 1 are usually filled by 9pm.
Mr Mohamed said the authorities should consider allowing vehicles to be parked at night in Woodlands Road as most of them would leave by 7am, when the workers go to work.
But the same road is often clogged by heavy vehicles returning to Malaysia via the Causeway.
The two-lane road towards the Causeway has double yellow lines to indicate that parking is disallowed at all times. The closest Housing Board carparks are more than 2km away in Marsiling.

On both sides of Seletar Link, vehicles are parked illegally over a 450m stretch. ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF
But the most blatant disregard for road safety and traffic rules occurs in Seletar Link outside S11 dormitory. In the dimly lit area, vans and mini-lorries are parked illegally along a 450m stretch. Some are parked four abreast, leaving only one lane for cement trucks to pass.
Retired LTA planner and transport consultant Gopinath Menon said such conditions make it difficult to spot pedestrians.

At Seletar Link outside S11 Punggol dormitory, four mini-lorries and vans are parked abreast, leaving only one lane for cement trucks to pass. ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF
He added: “If even one vehicle is parked illegally, it might be hard for (passing) drivers to spot pedestrians. If there are four vehicles parked abreast, chances are you can’t see pedestrians crossing the road. And that’s very dangerous.“
But when there is a shortage of parking spaces within the dorm premises, there is little that dormitory owners or operators can do, said Mr Menon.
In such cases, the authorities can be contacted and they may step in to offer solutions, he added.
SBS Transit said its bus drivers alert its operations control centre (OCC) when they see vehicles parked illegally in bus bays.
Mrs Grace Wu, vice-president of customer experience and communications at SBS Transit, said: “If our bus drivers encounter instances of illegal parking within the bus bay that prohibit them from safely entering and/or exiting the bus stop, they will alert our OCC, which will inform the Land Transport Authority for enforcement action.
“Concurrently, our OCC will activate our mobile traffic inspectors to the ground to assist our bus drivers.”