Commuters express dismay at shortened railway operating hours


Singapore’s Transit Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced that since railway components are showing their age, additional hours for engineering are needed for their upgrade and maintenance. This directly affects commuters as it entails shorter operating hours for the trains themselves.

Mr Khaw made this announcement today, November 13, at the SMRT’s Tuas West Depot, at the Future Railway Technology for Depot and Trains, where new technology in development for Singapore’s railways, such as robotics and augmented reality, are on display. He said that the current railway equipment has aged and needs renewal soon, even if the new depot’s power substation comes with a 50 per cent increase in power capacity for all trains.

Mr. Khaw further added that limits on power capacity were already being maximised, since new trains had been added in order to de-load overcrowded trains. The power load at peak hours had gone up to 80 per cent of their capacity for the North-South and East-West lines, a figure expected to increase even more, due to resignalling works and the operation of the new Tuas West Extension line, potentially forcing the SMRT to use its power reserve backups.

In addition to power supply, track circuits, signalling and the trains themselves also need upgrading, hence the announcement of additional engineering hours, which is necessarily done before and after the operating hours for the North-South and East-West lines. These lines are now thirty years old. Mr Khaw said in order for the country to boosts its capacities in preventive maintenance, depots themselves would also need an overall upgrade.

Netizens had a variety of reactions to Khaw’s announcement, with the majority being dismayed at the cost of the shortened operating hours on commuters

Others expressed that the problems should have been foreseen and attended to even before

Yet others made suggestions to hasten the process of upgrading the railway lines


  1. HongKong MTR is much older than SMRT. No major breakdowns that I am aware off. Does that mean that we have not done any periodic upgrades as part of any asset management process or we have done such s lousy job maintaining them. Either way, this present Government has screwup big time. Please tell us “which is which” Mr Kwa. Your volunteer CEO or the mismanagement of our resources by your ministry. As tax payer, we need an honest answer. Stop all the “BS”

  2. Singaporeans are so funny. Complaining that the train services always got disrupted. Now, they need to do the maintenance work and yet people not happy over the changed in operation time. Give them a break! How are they going to repair it then if the timing remains unchanged?!

  3. ♻The poor part-time outdoor surveyor earning $8 an hour on second shift has to pay for taxi fares every night, half the pay go to transportation, but the millionaire minister only care for their revenues
    Hong Kong transport system is more efficient than Singapore
    We should recruit the maintenance manager from Hong Kong to replace the current overpaid CEO

  4. If shorten operation hours will really solve the problem, Singaporeans won’t dismay. But how far we can trust them anymore if every now and then for what they said is unreliable. Last time said changing new track and signalling system will improve train frequency during peak hours. Now train frequency change from 3mins to 5mins after signalling system replacement. Is 6pm on weekdays is not peak hours?

  5. like that hor operate 8hrs la like office hour only la than I sure to say break down minimise or just operate during sat sun better for a few hours sure no break down liao than your report card 100% . stupid idea even give you another 1 hr can you be 100% all train fault can be solved.

  6. Simple solution is Poductivity! and yet these Clxxns talk about Productivity to the Private sectors but fail in the Public sectors. In Productivity for Maintenance, How much a team can do within a stipulated time are determainby the task involved. to do more without cutting corners are not possible if a good job is to be ensured. The only way to shorten the disruptions is to increase the manpower needed. SMRT in trying to generate profit has ignore this and must have been cutting manpower when infrastructure requiring PM have been increasing couple with using cheaper and poor quality spare parts. I remember when MRT was luanch 30 yrs back the ride was so smooth that one person could stand without holding the grab bar but now when you stand, its better to hold the grab bar while doing your exercise.