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Transport Woes...


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Noisy bus rides due to too many announcements​

Mar 10, 2023

I travel on service 979 every day. Recently, I heard several new announcements during the bus ride: a voice from the bus captain’s area repeatedly announced “pedestrian warning”.

Additionally, another warning that was not clear to me came on every time the bus stopped behind another bus at a bus stop.

A warning would sound every time the bus approached a bus stop when there were passengers ready to board. Even when there was sufficient distance, and all pedestrians were on the sidewalk, the warning still sounded twice at every single bus stop. It was loud enough to be heard on the upper deck. During my morning bus ride of 15 stops, I heard “pedestrian warning” at least 30 times.

In Singapore, there are numerous announcements made on public transport. It is hard enough to get a quiet ride.

On top of this, announcements like “pedestrian warning” at every bus stop are unnecessary and contribute to sound pollution.

While it is necessary to support bus captains with technology, we need to think about whether some aspects are necessary and the impact they have on the passenger’s experience. Bus captains have been trained to drive buses without these electronic warnings and have been doing so for decades.
Let us recognise their skills, reduce sound pollution, and ensure quieter and comfortable rides for all.

Narayanan Anand Chandrasekar


Alfrescian (Inf)

Number of major MRT breakdowns doubles even as overall rail reliability remains high​


There were seven major breakdowns in 2022, which is the second-highest in the past five years. ST PHOTO: RYAN CHIONG

Christopher Tan
Senior Transport Correspondent

Mar 21, 2023

SINGAPORE – Serious MRT disruptions, each lasting over 30 minutes, more than doubled in 2022 from 2021 even as the frequency of total delays dipped.
According to rail reliability statistics just released by the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the mean kilometres before failure – an engineering measure of reliability – rose from 1.994 million train-km in 2021 to 2.09 million train-km in 2022.
That means there was one disruption of more than five minutes for every 2.09 million km clocked by Singapore’s MRT trains during the year, making the system one of the more dependable in the world.
The best-performing MRT line was the newish Downtown Line, operated by SBS Transit, while the worst-performing one was the North-South Line, operated by SMRT. But even the latter clocked more than 1.6 million train-km before a failure.
The newest Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) operated by SMRT – which had suffered several delays since it opened three years ago – was not tallied.
Separately, there were seven major breakdowns (defined as those lasting more than half an hour) in 2022 – more than double the three in 2021, and is the second-highest figure in the past five years.
This contrasted against the number of major LRT glitches, which halved to just two in 2022.

Singapore University of Social Sciences Associate Professor Walter Theseira, an economist, said it was difficult to gauge reliability from year-on-year statistical changes.
“We do know the system is more than 10 times as reliable as it was in the mid-2010s,” he said. “Whether these gains are being reversed is difficult to tell from just one year of performance, just as it took several years for improvements in rail reliability to become apparent.”
While admitting that a recent spate of major delays across several MRT lines “are of concern for commuters”, he said the glitches were “distributed across the lines and hence do not suggest yet that there are systemic reliability issues... which were the problem plaguing our MRT in the past”.

Prof Theseira added that it was “common for reliability to change over time, since it’s a function of equipment age, maintenance, utilisation, operating tempo”.
“What is important is that since reliability is a choice, expectations are clearly communicated to operators, and operators have the resources to meet those expectations.”

Observers said the number of disruptions in the first quarter of this year has increased. There were five breakdowns on the Thomson-East Coast Line for the year up to early March, three others on the North-South Line and one on the East-West Line during that period.
In a Parliamentary reply to Mr Melvin Yong (Radin Mas) on Monday, Transport Minister S. Iswaran said there were five faults on the Thomson-East Coast Line since Stage 3 of the line opened four months ago. Two were owing to software issues, which have since been resolved, and three were caused by faulty components, which have since been replaced.
“Prior to opening a new stage of a line, the LTA and the rail operators conduct extensive testing to minimise the risks of service disruption or delay,” Mr Iswaran said. “Nevertheless, as rail systems contain many interlinked hardware and software elements, certain issues may only surface during the early phases of full-scale operation before the system stabilises.”
Responding to queries, the LTA and SMRT said in a joint statement that the TEL faults are unrelated, and detailed investigations to identify the root causes are ongoing.
LTA and SMRT added that they are working with the original equipment manufacturers to investigate and rectify the faulty components of the TEL trains to prevent a repeat of similar incidents.
The four faults on the North-South and East-West lines were also unrelated, they said – one was a train-related fault, one was caused by a train-borne signalling issue, one was a track fault, and the last was a track point fault.
SMRT said the train-related fault involved an older train from the first three generations of trains, which are being replaced.
Commuters polled said they are satisfied with the MRT.
Mr Eugene Mok, 37, a programme manager, said: “I am on hybrid work arrangement. On days that I return to office, there are no significant delays and the system seems to be running quite smoothly, even better than before Covid days, although the trains are as crowded as ever.”
IT consultant Davis Li, 39, said: “I use the Downtown Line, and so far no breakdown. The frequency of trains is within expectations too – two to three minutes during peak periods and three to six minutes during non-peak.”
In the 2022 annual commuter satisfaction survey conducted by the Public Transport Council, satisfaction over reliability slipped by 0.5 percentage point – dragged down by a 2.4 percentage point drop in bus service reliability and partially offset by a 1.5 percentage point rise in MRT service reliability.


Alfrescian (Inf)

33-year-old woman found dead on LRT track at Cove station in Punggol East​

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Based on preliminary investigations, the police said they do not suspect foul play. ST PHOTO: ARIFIFN JAMAR




Aqil Hamzah



SINGAPORE – A 33-year-old woman was found dead on Thursday night at Cove station along the Punggol East LRT loop.
Transport operator SBS Transit announced on Twitter at 10.32pm on Thursday that both the Punggol East and West LRT loops were down.
This was due to an incident at Cove station, which is the first station in the Punggol East LRT loop.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it received a call for assistance at about 10pm.
The woman was found motionless on the LRT track near the station’s platform and was pronounced dead at the scene. Based on preliminary investigations, the police said they do not suspect foul play.
Investigations are ongoing.
To ferry affected commuters, free buses - both regular and bridging services - were made available.

The Straits Times has contacted SBS Transit for more information.
In a Facebook post, Ms Yeo Wan Ling, Member of Parliament for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, suggested commuters make alternate travel arrangements.
Photos she shared showed a police cordon set up at the LRT station, as well as the presence of an ambulance and fire engine.



Alfrescian (Inf)

20-minute train delays on North East Line following signalling fault at Sengkang MRT​

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A crowd waiting outside Serangoon MRT station, after a delay on the North East Line on March 29, 2023. ST PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER TAN


Mar 29, 2023

SINGAPORE - A signalling fault at Sengkang MRT station was causing a delay of up to 20 minutes on the North East Line (NEL) on Wednesday night, said SBS Transit.
The public transport operator first tweeted at 7.43pm that commuters should expect an additional travel time of 10 minutes, which it updated to 20 minutes at 8.01pm.
SBS Transit subsequently deployed free regular bus services between Punggol and Serangoon MRT stations, and advised commuters at HarbourFront, Outram Park, Chinatown, Dhoby Ghaut, Little India or Serangoon Station to use other MRT lines.
Some Facebook and Twitter users lamented the lack of updates on the situation, noting issues at other North East Line stations that were not supported by the bus services.
Several commenters also said that they had experienced the delays as early as at 7.30pm.
“Not seeing any single shuttle bus at Buangkok for at least half an hour after announcement of (signal) fault,” said a commenter on Facebook.
One commuter at HarbourFront said two trains with their doors open and passengers inside had not moved for more than 15 minutes. Some people were getting out, probably to find other means of transport.

Train monitoring app MRTWatch tweeted that it was “weird” that bus bridging services were only made available between Sengkang and Serangoon MRT stations when trains at Outram were also down.
The Straits Times has contacted SBS for more information.
Another train fault earlier in March saw peak-hour travel disrupted for almost three hours on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL), with operator SMRT attributing the incident to a defective train, which it traced back to an electronic card.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Disruption in clearance system affecting some checkpoints, delays expected: ICA​


Long queues were seen at the Causeway as ICA warns of delays due to "intermittent slowness". PHOTOS: MOHAMEDSHABIYUDEEN/FACEBOOK, CHLOE TAN/FACEBOOK

Aqil Hamzah

Mar 31, 2023

SINGAPORE – Delays are expected across some land and air checkpoints due to a disruption in the immigration clearance system.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) first announced the disruption on Facebook at 11.28am, adding that it “regrets the inconvenience caused to travellers and seek their understanding and patience”.
In an update at 12.03pm, it advised travellers to postpone all non-essential travel.
Official updates would be put up on ICA’s Facebook page, it added.
Meanwhile, motorists entering Singapore through either the Woodlands or Tuas Checkpoints griped online that they had been left waiting in the queue with no reprieve in sight.
In a Facebook group for Malaysians who work in Singapore, several people had posted photos of long queues of vehicles on the Causeway, and of people in the immigration hall.
Most said they had been waiting for about an hour, with one commenter saying that the automatic counters were down.

Similarly, long queues had formed at Changi Airport as well, with throngs of people waiting to enter departure gates.
Facebook user C Tse Yang said that with the system down, immigration officers at the airport had taken to manually calling out people whose flights were about to leave.
“(There’s) no queue, no crowd management. Staff all don’t know what to do, waiting for instruction(s),” he said.
This story is developing.


Alfrescian (Inf)

SMRT replacing faulty parts in signalling system after 2-hour discruption on Circle Line​


This is the first major disruption on the Circle Line in 2023. ST PHOTO: RYAN CHIONG
Fatimah Mujibah and Kok Yufeng

Apr 8, 2023

SINGAPORE – A signalling system fault affected train services for more than two hours on the Circle Line (CCL) on Friday afternoon.
It was the first major disruption on the CCL in 2023. At one point, passengers had to deal with delays of up to 40 minutes between the Dhoby Ghaut/Marina Bay and Paya Lebar MRT stations.
Transport operator SMRT first informed passengers of an additional travelling time of 30 minutes in a tweet at about 1pm.
Free regular bus and bridging services between the affected stations were available. Passengers at Dhoby Ghaut/Marina Bay heading for Paya Lebar were advised by SMRT to take the North-South Line and transfer to the East-West Line.
Those at Promenade, Bayfront or Marina Bay stations were advised to take the Thomson-East Coast Line or Downtown Line, or use alternative modes of transport.
At around 2.50pm, SMRT said the disruption was shortened to between Dhoby Ghaut/Marina Bay and Stadium stations.
Free bus services ended by 3.15pm, after normal train services resumed.

When The Straits Times arrived at Paya Lebar station at 2.15pm, trains were running as per normal towards the city, but were terminating at Stadium station.
SMRT staff at Stadium station could be seen directing passengers to a bus stop nearby. This resulted in a long queue of more than 40 people waiting for the free bus services.

People queueing for free bus bridging services outside Stadium MRT station on Friday. ST PHOTO: KOK YUFENG
Some were confused about where the bridging buses would make stops.

One affected passenger, Ms Natasha Ershad, was taking the CCL from Bishan to Promenade station to meet a friend.
She had to alight at Stadium station as she was told there was no train service from Stadium to Dhoby Ghaut or Marina Bay.
“My friend who was taking the Circle Line the other way, from Esplanade to Promenade, told me there was a train breakdown, but I didn’t think it would affect both directions,” the 35-year-old housewife said.
She added: “These things happen and today is a public holiday, so I don’t think many are in a rush. If it was a working day, I think people would be upset.”

In a Facebook post, SMRT said that for the safety of its passengers, “trains were moving at a slower speed across the affected stretch, which resulted in longer train travel time. Train services were available throughout the incident”.
It added that its engineers were on-site to conduct the recovery operations, along with additional staff who were deployed to assist passengers.
Both in-train and station announcements were also made to inform passengers of the delay.
“SMRT will continue to work with Land Transport Authority and the signalling original equipment manufacturer to enhance the system,” said SMRT, adding that it was sorry to have affected passengers’ Friday afternoon trips.
In an update on Saturday morning, SMRT said in a Facebook post that its engineers had worked through the night to “diagnose and replace the Signalling System Automatic Train Control (ATC) cards”.
It added that it, together with the LTA and systems supplier Alstom, would “continue to closely monitor the performance of the signalling ATC system for smooth passenger services”.


Alfrescian (Inf)

34% more potholes detected on Singapore roads in first 2 months of 2023​


The LTA detected 1,123 potholes in the first two months of 2023 – 34 per cent more than in the same period in 2022. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM


Lee Nian Tjoe
Senior Transport Correspondent

Apr 9, 2023

SINGAPORE – Blame your bumpier road commutes on the weather.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it detected 1,123 potholes in the first two months of 2023 – 34 per cent, or 285, more than the same period in 2022 – due to the higher intensity of rain Singapore experienced during this time.
But this year’s figure was far below that of 2021, when there were 3,318 potholes detected over the same period.
The LTA was responding to a request for details from The Sunday Times following a question raised in Parliament by MP Melvin Yong (Radin Mas) on the prevalence of potholes on the roads.
The LTA said that typically, during the dry season, it detects about 200 potholes a month. During the monsoon period, the number of potholes swells to between 800 and 1,000.
Potholes may be discovered during the routine inspection of the 9,500 lane-kilometres under the LTA’s purview, as well as from reports submitted by the public.
They form when water gets into cracks on the road surface. The LTA said the cracks, which result over time through wear and tear, are usually repaired as part of regular inspection, maintenance and road resurfacing work.

When a pothole is detected, the repair would usually be done within 24 hours, the LTA said, assuming that the road surface is sufficiently dry for the work to be completed properly.
During a wet spell, additional inspections are conducted, and more resources are deployed accordingly to expedite pothole repairs, it added.
The LTA said that because of the more intense rainfall in recent years, it is also speeding up the localised resurfacing work on the slower lanes of roads, which tend to have a higher concentration of heavy vehicles and high traffic volume.
“Should there be prolonged rainfall, we will first patch the affected road temporarily to ensure safety and wait for the weather to improve before carrying out the conventional, long-lasting rectification”, the authority added.
The LTA urges the public to report road defects such as potholes through its website (www.lta.com.sg), the “Snap & Send” function on the MyTransport.SG mobile application or the Municipal Services Office’s OneService application.
It is important for the repairs to be done quickly.

During a wet spell, additional inspections are conducted and more resources are deployed accordingly to expedite pothole repairs. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
The Automobile Association of Singapore (AAS) said that once a pothole forms, it can easily grow in size and depth as passing vehicles further wear down the surface, while rain and flooding can wash away the worn surface.
To avoid hitting potholes, the AAS advises motorists to look beyond the vehicle that is directly ahead.
It also advises drivers against swerving their vehicle to dodge potholes as they may lose control of their vehicle or put themselves in the path of other vehicles. If there is no way around a pothole, the best practice is to slow down and “coast over” the pothole, while maintaining a firm grip on the steering wheel to avoid losing control of the vehicle.
In particular, the AAS said that motorists should not jam on the brakes when their vehicle is already going over the pothole as this will cause the vehicle to nosedive, potentially causing damage to the vehicle.


Alfrescian (Inf)

School bus firm ends contract early after losing two drivers, reflecting strain on bus industry​


School bus service operators like Mr Ho Jun Xian have to contend with an ageing workforce and losing subcontractors to more lucrative types of work. ST PHOTO: Ng Sor Luan The Straits Times

Lee Nian Tjoe
Senior Transport Correspondent

Apr 10, 2023

SINGAPORE – In February, a bus operator that had served North Spring Primary School in Sengkang for more than 10 years informed the school that it was calling it quits.
What nudged K W Bus Service to throw in the towel was the loss of two of its 15 drivers – one was leaving for another industry, while the other, who was in his 70s, was retiring. The company is serving notice while the school looks for a new service provider.
K W’s owner, Mr Ho Jun Xian, 34, said his business has been operating constantly at the limits when it comes to manpower, and it has no resources to cover two fewer drivers.
Bus operators have found it increasingly difficult to recruit drivers in the past two years as the economy recovers post-Covid-19. Many are operating with no buffer.
Companies that provide school bus services have to compete for drivers who may be drawn to jobs that pay better, like ferrying tourists, or have more flexible hours, like doing last-mile delivery services.
North Spring Primary called a tender for a new school bus operator, which closed on March 31. Based on tender documents, the new contract for North Spring Primary will start on May 27, which is the first day of the school holidays following the end of the first semester.
The Straits Times has contacted the school for comment.

Mr Ho, who started working as a bus driver for his father when he was 23, said the company has 18 buses. Both his parents, who are in their mid-60s, also work as drivers to cover the school bus routes daily.
The company has other transport jobs to keep the fleet busy.
Mr Ho’s daily routine includes picking up the first pupil to go to North Spring Primary at 6am, as well as pupils from CHIJ Our Lady of the Nativity in Hougang after school is dismissed in the afternoon.
He said he deals with operation emergencies fairly frequently. On the morning before he met ST, one of his older drivers was hospitalised in the wee hours for a heart condition. Mr Ho himself had to drive a second trip to pick up the pupils affected.
Given the lack of bus drivers, some schools allow bus operators to make more than one trip to ferry the pupils. This means that some pupils are picked up earlier to get to school or reach home later after dismissal.
Mr Ho, who is married with two young children, also recounted an instance recently when he found out at 5am that one of his drivers could not work that day because his child was sick. Mr Ho’s solution then was to have the affected pupils make their own way to school via taxis and to reimburse them for the fare.
The implementation of the Progressive Wage Model for drivers from March 1, 2023, has been another source of pressure for operators. Mr Ho said: “Of course, I would like to pay my drivers more, but contracts which were set years ago are paying us the same amount as before.”
School bus service contracts are typically set for two to three years, with the option to extend. While bus fares have been increasing, most operators say that the hikes are not sufficient to match the rising costs of running the business.
An industry insider explained that Ministry of Education school bus contracts are often not the most profitable type of work, but they can make commercial sense if the operator is able to integrate the school routes with other types of work. For example, after dropping off the primary school pupils, the bus can move on to pick up international school students, or maybe workers.
Mr Ho said drivers can also be picky. Some, for example, prefer to drive smaller buses even if the pay is lower because the vehicles are easier to manage. But larger buses with more seating capacity tend to be more cost-efficient for the operator.

K W was dealt a further blow in March when one of the four subcontractors that the company uses for its contract with CHIJ decided to pull out.
Subcontractors are not directly engaged by the schools. The company holding the contract assigns routes to these bus operators and liaises with the school and parents.
Mr Ho said that when other industries shut down during the earlier part of the Covid-19 pandemic, bus operators who specialised in worker transport or ferrying tourists switched to providing school bus services.
With the end of the pandemic, many are turning away from doing school runs, which makes it harder for school bus operators to find subcontractors.
Mr Ho said his priority now is to ensure that the bus operation at CHIJ runs smoothly in the new semester, before he looks for other types of work to keep the fleet and drivers busy.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Immigration clearance system disruption lasted 4½ hours, affected 85,000 land and air travellers​


Among those affected by the disruption on March 31 were 30,000 passengers on 113 departure and 111 arrival flights. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Samuel Devaraj

Apr 21, 2023

SINGAPORE – A disruption during a trial for an immigration clearance system upgrade on March 31 by the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) affected a total of 85,000 air and land passengers.
They included 30,000 passengers on 113 departure and 111 arrival flights; 21 of the passengers missed their flights.
Another 55,000 travellers who passed through the two land checkpoints at Woodlands and Tuas were also affected.
In Parliament on Friday, Minister of State for Home Affairs Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said that following this incident, ICA is reviewing the approach to the upgrade.
Responding to questions from several MPs about the disruption, he said the pre-scheduled trial was needed for an upgrade of the Multi-Modal Biometrics System (MMBS), which facilitates automated immigration clearance using travellers’ biometrics.
But the trial caused the storage systems to overload at about 10.40am, and the process was aborted immediately.
Associate Professor Faishal said vendors were on standby to tackle problems if a disruption happened, and the plan was to recover the system within 30 minutes if the trial did not go well.

But when problems surfaced, the disruption was worse than expected and lasted for about 4½ hours.
Prof Faishal said: “The extent of the overload was much more severe than anticipated, and the vendors who were on-site had to work with their global support team to diagnose and reboot the servers.”
ICA activated its business continuity plan once the system went down, and off-duty officers were recalled to help operate manual immigration counters and perform crowd control.

Across all checkpoints, the failover process kicked in, and all manual counters and some automated lanes switched to backup systems.
However, Prof Faishal said, not all the automated lanes have this failover capability, as different models were procured over the years.
At the land checkpoints, travellers experienced delays of up to 30 minutes at the start of the incident.

At Woodlands Checkpoint, there was another hour of delays for cars as the car arrival zone had to be converted to clear motorbikes manually.
Prof Faishal said immigration clearance at Changi Airport’s departure halls was significantly affected, with travellers redirected to manual counters.
He added that ICA stepped up manning of the counters by recalling off-duty officers, deploying administrative staff and retaining officers from the outgoing shift.
Changi Airport Group assisted ICA by deploying more Changi youth ambassadors and office staff, along with the group’s duty terminal managers and its Customs, immigration and quarantine team.
Said Prof Faishal: “They helped identify travellers whose flights were departing soon so that their departure clearance could be prioritised. Public announcements were also made to appeal for such travellers to step forward.”
He added that the 21 travellers who missed their flights at Terminal 4 were offered the option of booking alternative flights within a week at no extra cost.

Before the incident, Prof Faishal said, ICA had been upgrading its systems progressively and cautiously, with 10 out of 12 systems enhanced. Only the MMBS and one other system had not yet been upgraded.
For the MMBS, the system upgrade would involve replicating the large biometric database on an upgraded system.
Prof Faishal added that this had to be done continuously over a few days, and the MMBS had to remain operational during this period.
He said user acceptance tests that are standard procedure for any system upgrade were successful, and subsequent trials in the production environment were also stable.
Following that, there were plans to conduct further controlled trials at different times of the day to ensure the system upgrade would not disrupt operations, before proceeding with the actual upgrade.
An earlier trial conducted on March 15 from 1.30am to 3.30am was successful, said Prof Faishal.
He said ICA is reviewing the approach to the upgrade, following the disruption.
He added that the alternative approach ICA was initially offered by the vendors, which involved upgrading the system directly without replicating the database, was not tenable as it might have required five days of system downtime.
Said Prof Faishal: “Even with the implementation of business continuity plans, degradation in service standards was inevitable, given the volume of travellers, and especially at the onset of the incident.
“We apologise to affected travellers for the inconvenience caused and thank them for their understanding.”


Alfrescian (Inf)

MRT services at 7 CCL stations including Dhoby Ghaut to be affected by tunnel strengthening works​


The works will affect services at Dhoby Ghaut, Bras Basah, Esplanade, Promenade, Nicoll Highway, Marina Bay and Bayfront stations. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Lee Nian Tjoe
Senior Transport Correspondent

May 25, 2023

SINGAPORE - Passengers using the Circle Line (CCL) will face delays of up to 30 minutes from June 11 to July 20, because of maintenance works that will be carried out on a stretch of the tunnel built on reclaimed land that “has been subject to greater pressure”.
Announcing this on Wednesday, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the works will affect services at seven stations – Dhoby Ghaut, Bras Basah, Esplanade, Promenade, Nicoll Highway, Marina Bay and Bayfront.
Trains will operate from only one platform from 9pm on most days during the six-week period, with two shuttle train services plying the affected stations.
LTA said routine inspections had found that a stretch of the CCL tunnel between Promenade and Nicoll Highway stations “has been subject to greater pressure”.
“LTA has assessed that this poses no safety risks to CCL train operations,” the authority said, adding that it will carry out precautionary maintenance and strengthening works, including installing steel supports to the tunnel rings “to ensure the long-term integrity of the tunnel”.
Responding to queries, an LTA spokesman said instruments set up to monitor this stretch of the CCL tunnel round the clock had picked up “localised incidence of higher-than-projected ground pressure”.
“Residual ground movement is common, and some settlement is still expected for some time after construction. This is why we monitor tunnel stretches located in reclaimed land consisting of marine clay, such as this CCL tunnel stretch, especially closely,” he said.

“At present, we have not detected a similar issue in other areas.”
The LTA spokesman also said all the tunnels are made with reinforced concrete segments, and their design took into account ground conditions.
The steel plates that will be added to the tunnel rings are an additional strengthening measure, he added.

To allow these works to be carried out, trains will ply the seven stations as shuttle services back and forth from 9pm till the end of operating hours for much of the period from June 11 to July 20.
Trains will run normally on June 16 to 18, 24, 28 and 29; and on July 1, 2, 7, 8, and 14 to 16.
There will be two shuttle services – one between Dhoby Ghaut and Promenade stations that will run at 15-minute intervals, and another between Marina Bay and Stadium stations, where trains will arrive every 20 minutes.
“This will result in longer headways, and commuters will experience additional travel times of up to 30 minutes,” LTA said.
The LTA spokesman said it had considered other approaches, including opening the line late or carrying out works only during normal engineering hours after service ends, over a longer period.
The partial closure “strikes the best balance between minimising disruption to passengers and completing the works within a reasonable period of time”, he said.

Prior to this, there were early closures along the North-South and East-West MRT lines to give maintenance teams more time to carry out renewal works several years ago.
And from May to September 2022, SBS Transit closed train services on one platform of the Sengkang-Punggol LRT line on weekends for maintenance works.
LTA advised commuters to plan their journeys ahead of time and use other rail lines or buses to minimise the inconvenience from the CCL delays.
They can refer to LTA’s MyTransport.SG mobile app and social media platforms, as well as those of CCL operator SMRT, for more details, it added.
Posters and station announcements will be rolled out at all CCL MRT stations and selected stations on MRT lines that interchange with CCL stations, LTA said.
Station staff will also be deployed at the seven stations to help.
Experts said that ground settlement and movement can be influenced by many factors, including the type of soil and even activities that may be happening some distance away but still cause disturbances, like piling and excavation works. They said constant monitoring is the only accurate way for engineers to know the actual conditions and take any necessary steps to pre-emptively address issues.
Mr David Ng, honorary secretary of the Institution of Engineers, Singapore, said it is likely that the rate of ground settlement at the identified area has been higher than the predictions considered in design. The announced measures to strengthen the tunnels will help maintain the “required factor of safety” that would have been designed into the tunnels.
Some commuters said they would avoid using the shuttle services if they can.
Mr Harshitha Balaji, 20, a Singapore Management University student, usually takes the CCL from Bras Basah to Dhoby Ghaut, where he changes to the North East Line to get home from school.
He said that if his commute is affected by the partial closure, he would rather walk the distance of about 600m from the campus to Dhoby Ghaut than wait for the train shuttle service.
Mrs Miruna Ranjan, 37, a civil servant who lives in Queenstown and works at the National Stadium, does not usually leave her workplace after 9pm but said that if her commute were affected, she is likely to opt to take a ride-hailing service, rather than spend more time on the train to get home.
She said: “I think it will be students who rely solely on public transport to get around Singapore who would be most affected by the works.”


Alfrescian (Inf)

Forum: Give some respite from North-South Corridor works on weekend nights​

June 1, 2023

Construction on the North-South Corridor continues to be a nuisance that residents in the Novena area, like me, have had to endure (North-South Corridor: 3 key gripes from residents and how LTA is dealing with them, Jan 25).
The official statements from the Land Transport Authority do not reflect the reality of what is happening on the ground as many times, heavy construction work goes on through the night on weekdays as well as weekends.
The only respite we look forward to is the weekend nights when, by law, no construction activity is permitted from 10pm on Saturday until 7am on Monday morning.
I wish to draw attention to a specific construction site along Thomson Road beside Goldhill Shopping Centre which has flouted this requirement consistently every weekend.
We have lodged repeated complaints with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and National Environment Agency (NEA), all to no avail. All we get is a generic response that they will monitor the situation, with no enforcement action taken.
What enforcement measures will LTA and NEA take to ensure that residents can at least be given two peaceful nights of sleep over the weekend and not have to suffer incessant construction noise disturbance?

Daniel Tan Yang Sheng (Dr)


Alfrescian (Inf)

Longer wait for Circle Line passengers as closure of one platform at seven stations begins​


Commuters waiting for the shuttle service at Promenade station on the first day of partial closure at seven Circle Line stations. ST PHOTO: YUGESH KANNAN
Yugesh Kannan

JUN 12, 2023

SINGAPORE - On Sunday night, administrator Peggie Nyam waited 20 minutes at Stadium MRT station for a train to Bishan.
Trains were arriving less frequently due to the closure of one platform at seven stations along the Circle Line (CCL) from 9pm on Sunday.
The 40-year-old, who went to the Singapore Sports Hub to watch the Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championship, said she had heard about the partial closure but did not know when it started.
She added she would still have chosen to take the CCL despite the longer wait, as it was easier to get home by train than other modes of transport.
Like Ms Nyam, there were other confused passengers at Stadium station.
Many did not know about the partial closure, and asked SMRT marshals on the ground for help.
From June 11 to July 20, seven CCL stations – Dhoby Ghaut, Bras Basah, Esplanade, Promenade, Nicoll Highway, Marina Bay and Bayfront – have only one platform open on most days from 9pm till the end of service, to facilitate tunnel-strengthening works between Promenade and Nicoll Highway stations.

Trains will run normally on June 16 to 18, 24, 28 and 29; and on July 1, 2, 7, 8, and 14 to 16.
There are two shuttle train services – one between Dhoby Ghaut and Promenade stations that will run at 15-minute intervals, and another between Marina Bay and Stadium stations, where trains will arrive every 20 minutes.
The longer waiting time did not deter cement-mixer truck driver Saravana Kumar, 33, from waiting for the train at Promenade.
He knew about the partial closure but still chose to take the MRT as there was no straight bus from Promenade to his home in Mountbatten.
However, he added that he did not expect to wait nearly 30 minutes in total for both shuttles.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic accountancy student Torsten See was surprised by the longer wait when he reached Promenade to take the train to Yishun.
The 18-year-old said: “If I were to go out this late in this area again, I might consider taking other forms of transport, especially on Sundays since I have school on Monday morning.”


Alfrescian (Inf)

ComfortDelGro to charge 70-cent platform fee from July 1 for rides booked via its app​


ComfortDelGro said the new platform fee will also apply to limousine transfers made through its app, but not for rides booked via phone calls or text messages, or for street hails. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

Kok Yufeng
Transport Correspondent

June 20, 2023

SINGAPORE - Passengers will pay 70 cents more for taxi and private-hire car rides booked via ComfortDelGro’s CDG Zig app from July 1 – one of several fare-related announcements taxi and ride-hailing companies made on Monday.
ComfortDelGro said this new platform fee will also apply to limousine transfers made through its app, but not for rides booked via phone calls or text messages, or for street hails.
It is introducing the platform fee for app bookings so that it can continue to improve the quality of its point-to-point transport services, the home-grown transport giant said in a Facebook post on Monday.
It said it has been regularly improving the CDG Zig app by introducing features and services like merchant deals, restaurant reservation and private bus charter.
During the company’s annual general meeting in April, shareholders were also told that the next version of the app would come with new and improved user features and services.
Ride-hailing firms Grab, Gojek, Tada and Ryde all charge platform fees of varying amounts, with such fees going to the companies themselves. The stated purpose is usually to maintain, improve and develop app and product features.
ComfortDelGro, Singapore’s largest taxi operator, had a fleet of 8,840 cabs as at April, or about 63 per cent of Singapore’s taxi population. It also owns about 600 private-hire cars and has around 4,000 private-hire drivers on the CDG Zig platform.

Separately, Gojek on Monday announced that it will replace its fixed 70-cent platform fee for each trip made using its app with a tiered fee based on factors such as the duration of a trip and the distance travelled.
This will take effect on July 3, and fares may be up to 10 cents cheaper or up to 30 cents more expensive as a result of the change.
“We believe this structure more accurately reflects the range of trips people take on our platform, and helps to ensure prices remain fair and competitive,” Gojek said in a notice to customers and drivers.

The company will also be raising the starting fares for its Premium, XL and XL Kids services – a move that it said is aimed at compensating drivers more fairly.
From July 3, the starting fares for Gojek Premium, which are rides taken in higher-end vehicle models like the Toyota Vellfire and Mercedes-Benz E Class, will increase by $6.45 between midnight and 5.59am. At all other times of the day, such rides will cost 45 cents more.
Gojek said this is to create more parity with other industry players who levy similar surcharges.
Starting fares for Gojek’s XL and XL Kids services, which allow passengers to book rides that can accommodate up to six people, will go up by 30 cents come July 3.

Meanwhile, what were supposed to be one-off increases to distance and waiting-time fares for taxi rides have been extended by another year until June 30, 2024.
This applies to all five taxi companies here: ComfortDelGro, Trans-Cab, Strides, Premier and Prime.
This temporary taxi fare hike was introduced in April 2022 on the back of soaring pump prices at the time.
With the extension, passengers taking regular taxis will continue to be charged 25 cents for every 400m travelled up to 10km, and every 350m thereafter, as well as for every 45 seconds or less of waiting time – up from 24 cents previously.
For limousine and premium cabs, passengers will continue to pay a higher fare of between 34 cents and 36 cents for every 400m travelled up to 10km, every 350m travelled after 10km, and every 45 seconds or less of waiting time, depending on the taxi operator.
Temporary increases to taxi location surcharges that were introduced in 2022 have also been extended by a year until June 30, 2024.
Those taking a cab from Changi Airport will continue to pay an additional $8 between 5pm and 11.59pm and an additional $6 at all other times – an increase of $3 from the usual fee.
A $3 surcharge for taxi rides originating from the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Wonders will be extended to the newly opened Bird Paradise in Mandai from July, and the surcharge will be applied from 1pm to 11.59pm daily, compared with 4pm to 11.59pm previously.
Also being extended until June 30, 2024, are temporary fees that Gojek and Tada have imposed on passengers since 2022 to help drivers cope with higher fuel costs and other expenses.
Gojek’s “driver fee” is 50 cents for trips less than 10km, and 80 cents for trips that go beyond 10km. Tada charges a driver fee of 50 cents for rides with fares $18 and below, and 80 cents for rides that cost $18.10 and above.
Both platforms have said that the full fee will go directly to its drivers.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Circle Line service affected twice by signalling system fault​


Commuters at the Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station on Friday night. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Elaine Lee

June 24, 2023

SINGAPORE - Train service in the downtown section of the Circle Line was affected twice on Friday night by a signalling system fault, delaying trips for commuters at stations between Marina Bay/Dhoby Ghaut and Mountbatten.
The first incident happened at 8.40pm and the problem was rectified by 9.10pm but the fault reocurred at 10pm, transport operator SMRT said on Facebook.
In the first incident, it informed passengers of an additional travelling time of 30 minutes between the Dhoby Ghaut/Marina Bay and Paya Lebar stations in the first of a series of tweets at 8.57pm. Free regular bus services were offered between these stations.
In the second incident, besides adding 30 minutes of travel time between the Dhoby Ghaut and Esplanade stations, Marina Bay and Bayfront stations, and Mountbatten and Paya Lebar stations, there was no train service between the Esplanade/Bayfront and Mountbatten stations, SMRT tweeted at 11.26pm.
“Please use alternative means of transport to continue your journey,” it added. “We are sorry to have affected your Friday evening commute.”
SMRT said their engineers are on site to investigate and rectify the fault.
One Facebook user Jon Poh said he waited for a shuttle bus but there was none in sight.

“You had two hours to activate. Unacceptable,” he said, adding that MRT ground staff members had to manually open the train door when the train arrived at the Stadium stop.
In an update at around 1.20am, SMRT said circle line train services had ended for the day but engineers were still on site and would be working through the night to examine and rectify the failure of signalling cards.
Normal train services between Marina Bay/ Dhoby Ghaut and Mountbatten resumed at 5.20am.



Alfrescian (Inf)

Train fault causes nearly 3-hour service disruption on Thomson-East Coast MRT line​


Services on the Thomson-East Coast Line were disrupted due to a train fault on Saturday evening. PHOTO: ST READER

Ian Cheng

August 13, 2023

SINGAPORE – A train fault at about 7.30pm on Saturday evening caused a train to stall between Woodlands station and Woodlands South station towards Lentor station, causing a service disruption on the Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) that lasted nearly three hours.
Transport operator SMRT said in an update to a Facebook post at 10.54pm that train services on the TEL had resumed at about 10.15pm, adding that free regular and bridging bus services had ceased.
“We are sorry to all commuters who were affected this evening,” SMRT said.
In a Facebook post addressing the situation at 10.09pm on Saturday, SMRT said that its employees were on-site to assist about 60 commuters from the train that had stalled earlier in the evening, all of whom arrived safely at Woodlands station.
“Train services are running slower as only one single line can be used for both ways on the affected stretch,” said SMRT.
It advised commuters to expect an additional 20 minutes of travelling time or to take alternative modes of transport.
SMRT added that in-train and station announcements were made to inform commuters of the additional train travel time of up to 20 minutes along the affected stretch, and that free regular bus services and bridging bus services were available between Woodlands North and Lentor stations.

Multiple comments on SMRT’s Facebook posts about the disruption highlighted the lack of announcements that train services from Lentor to Woodlands North had ceased, and that announcements at Lentor MRT station were “misleading”.
“There is no transport and proper communication for us at the stations,” said Facebook user Chng Lixia. “There is no announcement regarding Lentor to Woodlands. The announcement is the usual, that the train at Platform A is going to end at Gardens by the Bay.”

In posts on its social media platforms at 8.17pm, SMRT said that due to a train fault, trains were moving slower from Woodlands North towards Lentor, advising commuters that there would be an additional travelling time of 10 minutes.

At about 8.20pm, SMRT then attributed the slow movement of trains to a track signal fault instead, updating commuters that free regular bus services were provided between Woodlands North and Lentor stations.
However, in a post at 8.31pm, SMRT said once more that the disruption was due to a train fault. An update at 8.58pm also revised the additional travelling time to 20 minutes.
In response to a query from The Straits Times, the transport operator told ST to refer to its official and social media channels for information.

Commuters were told to expect up to 20 minutes of additional travelling time due to the disruption. PHOTO: ST READER
A commuter who wanted to be known only as Mr Toh told ST that he was heading towards Woodlands MRT station when commuters were asked to disembark from the train he was on at about 7.50pm at Lentor MRT station.
Mr Toh observed that the platform for trains heading towards Woodlands North MRT station was closed.
Station staff reportedly told commuters that the issue was a train fault at Woodlands MRT station and requested that they make their way to other MRT stations instead, as there were no shuttle bus services available at the time.
At about 8.10pm, commuters were informed through an announcement that shuttle buses were available. Mr Toh went to the bus stop where the shuttle buses were supposed to pick up passengers, but none came until about 8.25pm, with the bus stop getting increasingly crowded.
“I estimate that there were at least 50 people by that point,” Mr Toh told ST. “So I just gave up and went to another bus stop to take a public bus towards Yishun and switch to the North-South Line.”
He added that he was “quite confused” by SMRT’s initial announcements on their social media platforms at about 8.15pm, as no mention was made that there was no train service towards Woodlands North MRT station when it had already been stopped for about 25 minutes at the time.
“I thought it was far more important to alert passengers that there was no train service for the Woodlands-bound platform than to focus on the other problem, which was that there were slower trains towards Gardens by the Bay.
“This would have helped people heading towards Woodlands in making alternative transport plans,” he said.


Alfrescian (Inf)

Near 3-hour disruption on Thomson-East Coast Line caused by loss of power supply: SMRT​


Train services on the Thomson-East Coast Line were disrupted on the evening of Aug 12. PHOTOS: ST READER

AUG 13, 2023

SINGAPORE - Saturday evening’s near three-hour service disruption on the Thomson-East Coast MRT Line (TEL) was caused by a power trip on a train, said SMRT.
The train had stalled between Woodlands station and Woodlands South station towards Lentor station. Sixty passengers were evacuated from the train with the help of SMRT employees and returned safely to Woodlands station.
In a Facebook post late on Sunday morning, SMRT said: “Preliminary findings reveal that there was a momentary loss of power supply to the train-borne signalling equipment, which caused a loss of signalling functions. This led to the train’s fail-safe design to kick in to trip traction power to the rail sector from Woodlands North to Woodlands South stations.”
It added that a joint team comprising SMRT, the Land Transport Authority and the original equipment manufacturers – Alstom and Kawasaki – will investigate further to trace where the power trip on the train could have occurred.
According to SMRT, the train went into service last November and is still under warranty.
According to its initial post on its social media platforms, a train fault at about 7.30pm on Saturday evening caused trains to move more slowly from Woodlands North towards Lentor station. It advised commuters to expect an extra 20 minutes of travelling time or to take alternative modes of transport.
SMRT added that in-train and station announcements were made to inform commuters of the additional 20 minutes in train travel time along the affected stretch.

It also said that free regular bus services and bridging bus services were available between Woodlands North and Lentor stations.
At 10.54pm, it announced that train services on the TEL had resumed at about 10.15pm, adding that free regular and bridging bus services had ceased.

At 10.54pm, SMRT announced that train services on the TEL had resumed at about 10.15pm, adding that free regular and bridging bus services had ceased. PHOTO: SMRT/FACEBOOK
However, multiple comments on its Facebook posts about the disruption highlighted that announcements at Lentor MRT station were “misleading”.
On Sunday, SMRT again apologised to affected passengers.



Alfrescian (Inf)

Passengers disembark train at City Hall MRT station after white smoke fills cabin​


Smoke filled the cabin of an east-bound SMRT train on Sept 7 night due to a refrigerant gas leak. PHOTOS: SCREENGRAB FROM SGFOLLOWSALL/INSTAGRAM

Aqil Hamzah

SEP 8, 2023

SINGAPORE - Passengers on board an east-bound train were forced to disembark at City Hall MRT station on Thursday night after one of the cabins was filled with smoke.
The smoke was due to a refrigerant gas leak from the air-conditioning system of the first-generation train, which has been running since 1987, said SMRT Trains president Lam Sheau Kai in response to queries from The Straits Times.
The incident took place at about 9.50pm and the affected train was withdrawn from service.
Apologising for the disruption, Mr Lam said passengers were told to disembark as a safety precaution and advised to board the next train.
“Our staff did not receive any reports of commuters who required medical attention,” he said, adding that train services continued as normal afterwards.
Footage of the incident was posted on social media, with a video showing passengers on the train covering their mouths and noses as smoke envelops the cabin.
The 33-second clip also shows an SMRT Trains staff member checking each cabin as passengers stream out of the train into the station.



Alfrescian (Inf)

Track fault causes delays on Circle Line on Friday morning​


Bridging bus services will be made available between Paya Lebar and Promenade stations. PHOTO: SMRT/FACEBOOK

Michelle Chin

Sep 29, 2023

SINGAPORE – A track fault on the Circle Line (CCL) caused trains to run slower from Dhoby Ghaut to Promenade stations and from Marina Bay to Stadium stations on Friday morning.
Commuters are advised to factor in an additional 30 minutes of travelling time, transport operator SMRT said in a Facebook post at about 5am.
The delays were due to a crack on the rail track at the crossing between Promenade and Esplanade stations and between Promenade and Bayfront stations that was detected at about 2.20am, said SMRT in another Facebook post at around 6am.
Instead of the CCL, commuters are advised to take the North-South Line, East-West Line and Downtown Line.
Free regular bus services are available between Paya Lebar and Dhoby Ghaut stations and Paya Lebar and Marina Bay stations.
Bridging bus services will be made available between Paya Lebar and Promenade stations.
In-train and station announcements will be made to keep commuters informed. Commuters are also advised to follow the official channels for updates.

SMRT said it will be carrying out rail crossing replacement to restore the safe use of the tracks.
“As this involves detailed survey and the movement of heavy rails and equipment using engineering trains, normal train services will be affected at the affected stretch for the engineers to rectify the issue,” it said.



Alfrescian (Inf)

Crack in Circle Line track causes delay on Friday morning​


Bridging bus services are available for affected commuters.


Michelle Chin

Sep 29, 2023

SINGAPORE – A crack in the Circle Line (CCL) track caused trains to run slower on Friday morning.
Commuters are advised to factor in an additional 30 minutes of travelling time, as only one train line is being used for services in two directions from Dhoby Ghaut to Promenade stations, and from Marina Bay to Stadium stations, transport operator SMRT said on Facebook.
The delays were due to a crack on the rail track at the crossing between Promenade and Esplanade stations and between Promenade and Bayfront stations that was detected at about 2.20am, said SMRT.
The transport operator said in a Facebook post that it was “working towards having the repairs completed at about 5pm”.
Affected commuters can get an e-travel chit as proof of travel via this website smrttravelchit.sg, SMRT said on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).
Instead of the CCL, commuters are advised to take the North-South Line, East-West Line and Downtown Line.
Bus services have been made available for affected commuters to travel between Paya Lebar and Dhoby Ghaut stations, as well as the Marina Bay station.

In-train and station announcements will be made. Commuters are also advised to follow SMRT’s social media pages for updates.
SMRT said it will be replacing the rail crossing to restore the safe use of the tracks.
“As this involves detailed survey and the movement of heavy rails and equipment using engineering trains, normal train services will be affected at the affected stretch for the engineers to rectify the issue,” it said.



Alfrescian (Inf)

Jail for ex-SBS Transit bus driver over accident that caused woman to have leg partially amputated​


Tan Phuay Khoo intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence, and was offered a bail of $15,000 on Tuesday. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

Shaffiq Alkhatib
Court Correspondent

Oct 3, 2023

SINGAPORE – A former SBS Transit driver was sentenced to seven months’ jail on Tuesday after a bus he was driving in 2019 struck a female pedestrian, resulting in her having part of her left leg amputated.
Tan Phuay Khoo, 62, who was earlier convicted of one count of causing grievous hurt to the woman by driving in an inconsiderate manner, was also disqualified from holding or obtaining all classes of driving licences for five years from his date of release.
He intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence, and was offered bail of $15,000 on Tuesday.
On Jan 19, 2019, Tan was driving a bus at around noon when he reached the junction of Pasir Ris Drive 1 and Pasir Ris Drive 2.
At the same time, the victim was crossing Pasir Ris Drive 1 as the traffic light was in her favour.
Tan made a discretionary right turn after waiting for a van to pass, and the bus struck the woman.
She was rushed to Changi General Hospital with injuries including fractures to both legs and degloving injuries in her left leg.

A body part is said to be degloved when top layers of skin and tissue are ripped from the underlying muscle or bone.
The woman then had to have part of her left leg amputated.
She had testified during the trial that she was rendered unable to perform daily activities such as climbing stairs without assistance.
On Sept 25, Deputy Public Prosecutor R. Arvindren told District Judge Kok Shu-En that the victim was in her 30s at the time, and her life had been permanently affected.
Stressing that the victim was walking at a normal pace before the accident occurred, the DPP added: “The accused was operating a heavy vehicle and the turn was within a residential zone.
“He had proceeded to make the turn even though the pedestrian green light was in the pedestrian’s favour.”
During the trial, Tan said that he did not notice the victim at all before the collision.

The prosecutor had earlier said in his submissions: “If the accused is insisting that... obstructions made things difficult for him to have spotted the victim, he simply should have stopped and checked.”
In September, an SBS Transit spokesperson told The Straits Times : “Mr Tan is no longer in our employ. We have dismissed him.”
If convicted of causing grievous hurt to another person by driving in an inconsiderate manner, an offender can be jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.