MRT collision is branded a “blemish” in Singapore’s efficiency and infrastructure by international news outlets


What was once a source of national pride has now become a source of national embarrassment, with the MRT collision at Joo Koon station yesterday morning being the latest in a string of service breakdowns that have plagued Singapore’s public transport system and inconvenienced countless commuters in recent years.

Yesterday’s train collision is especially notable since at least 29 people were injured and had to seek medical attention from local hospitals.

The train collision has gained widespread international traction, with several news outlets commenting on the collision – which is the first such incident since 1993 – yesterday.

Bloomberg News did not mince words in its report. The report was re-published in the South China Morning Post, as well:

“The incident is the latest blemish in a city known for its efficiency, tree-lined highways and slick infrastructure. Singapore’s mass transit system has been strained as the population expanded, leading to multiple breakdowns and delays especially in the past six years, symptomatic of a learning curve the city faces as it upgrades infrastructure rapidly to cope with more people.”

An Agence France-Presse report noted how far Singapore’s public transport system has fallen from once being the “envy of its neighbours”:

“Both LTA and SMRT said they are investigating the incident, which sparked a fresh round of criticism on social media of the metro system, once the pride of Singapore and the envy of its neighbors.
“The densely populated city state’s metro system has been hit by repeated delays and breakdowns in recent years, generating public anger in a financial center where the cost of car ownership is among the highest in the world.”

Popular British publication, The Daily Mail included an interview with a Singapore transport expert who urged the government to take a “fundamental relook” into local public transport:

“The densely-populated city-state is highly dependent on public transport. It is one of the world’s most expensive places to own a vehicle and recently announced that it will not allow any net growth in its car population from February next year.
Associate Professor Lawrence Loh, an expert on corporate governance at the National University of Singapore Business School, said the collision gave a “whole new dimension” to the train problem.
“‘While the recent disruptions merely give rise to inconveniences for commuters, we now see human injuries. Thus it is really time to take a fundamental relook at our public transportation system.'”

Across the causeway, Malay news outlets appears to be kinder, providing a straight report of the incident, without notable commentary.


  1. EWL is a manned Line. The purpose of having a driver is precisely to override any software malfunction. Or he left the running to auto too never anticipating such software failure. How can this happened? What about the unmanned Lines?

  2. When you sacked people without thorough investigation and labelled people as dishonest (maybe there is a falsify culture on-going), it will affects morale for the rest of the existing MRT staff.

  3. We are paying too much for everythink in Singapore . We are getting sub standards for everythink. Our ministerssalary should go down . They should not multitask in the commercial sector. Nobody is qualified for everythink.

  4. ST now to increase readership and save their own ricebowls from Kim Jong Un – editors and journalists are writing some less biased stufff like calling a spade a spade – calling a collision a collision and not contact.

  5. Joo Koon station is new, signalling system is also new, so what butterfly said in parliament is utterly rubbish that the EWL and NSL is nearly its end of it useful live, it is not how old the system is, it is the pple managing the system, and from this incident and all the daily breakdownssss is a true reflection of the competency of the pple managing the system. stop blaming the hardware and software when the peopleware is the mother of all the problems. admit it step down take your millions and get lost, am sure pinkie will arrange some post for both the clowns, just like the ex-MOT, after resignation, he went on to be the chairman of SAFRA collecting membership fee. and stop parachuting Generals into these critical post. we have a great example of such failure, PINKIE!!! fastest raising general, parachute to PM and look at us now!!!

  6. Singapore’s public transport system has not fallen. Our public transport system, as a whole, is a good system that serves the public well. It is the maintenance, upgrading and management that is a big shame. The management, including the Minister who is overall in charge, are enjoying huge salary and perks, but not did not do a correspondingly huge job for the system. It’s a shame.

  7. The solution is to close all MRT lines for a few months(3-4 or 6 months) getting the actual root of all the problems.
    Secondly, the top management should be SACKED immediately no more excuses, whether a minister or CEO and management level.

  8. Khaw said the job of public transport operators is to identify errant workers, counsel them and give them a chance to shape up.
    “What we should not do is to turn a blind eye to their act, or worse, follow them,” he added. Why are you not identifying Kuek and still turning a blind eye to his ineptitude and still not part ways?

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