“Someone must have been sleeping on the job” – Expert who helped convince LKY to build MRT network says signalling system was to be upgraded in 2002

42158
 

Transportation expert Bruno Wildermuth has revealed in a recent interview with The Straits Times that the MRT signalling system was due to be replaced after 15 years. Apparently, the system was supposed to have completed upgrading by 2002 but will now only finish upgrading this year – 16 years too late.

The Straits Times journalist, Irene Tham, wrote in an article published over the weekend:

“He was also critical of the frequent train service disruptions in recent years due to signalling faults.
“”When we were designing the MRT system. we stated that the signalling systems were meant to be replaced after 15 years,” he said.
“But the upgrading of the signalling system, initially slated to be completed by 2002, only got off the ground in 2016 and will now be completed by the middle of this year (2018). “Someone must have been sleeping on the job,” he said.”

Wildermuth, a Swiss National and Singapore Permanent Resident who has been here since the early 1970s, has been credited as an integral figure who convinced the authorities to build the MRT network in Singapore.

As the government was exploring the feasibility of an MRT system, Wildermuth landed in Singapore in 1972 and pushed the government to adopt the unconventional system.

Amid intense opposition from politicians like then-Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee and then-Trade and Industry Minister Tony Tan, the transport planner advocated that the government build the island-wide public transportation system – with the support of then-Minister for Communications Ong Teng Cheong who went on to become the nation’s first popular elected President.

 

Wildermuth teamed up with Ong – an architect by trade who had been studying the viability of an MRT network since 1967 – and fought against the all-bus transit system that was proposed by high-fliers of the government at the time.

In what was perhaps a turning point in convincing the Government to go ahead with the MRT system, Wildermuth participated in a televised debate about the public transport system, as Ong’s representative. He was pitted against Goh Keng Swee’s Harvard professors in the debate that was presided over by then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

In 1982 the government decided to go ahead with the MRT network. Two years later, Wildermuth took a position with the MRT Corporation and helped build 67 kilometers of the train line – ahead of schedule and under budget.

 

In 1988, Wildermuth was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Silver) for his contributions to the country’s public transport system. A year later, the expert joined TransitLink where he set up the world’s first integrated ticketing system in Singapore, which led to the creation of the stored-value transport card.

Last year, the National Integration Council – recognised Wildermuth’s contributions through an animated video:

This is not the first time Wildermuth has spoken up about the recent state of Singapore’s public transport system. In the wake of the the massive train service breakdown in 2015, Wildermuth called on the authorities to initiate an independent assessment of the state of the rail network.

Wildermuth has also criticised other local systems, such as service fees that are levied for card payments as factors that hinder Singapore’s Smart Nation Initiatives. In the same Straits Times interview, that has been trending online, he said, “Someone must have the political will to solve this problem once and for all.”

Mr Bruno, a Swiss national, served on SMRT but has retired. The MRT signaling system is supposed to replace by 2002, not 2018. Guess who was asleep at the wheel?

Posted by Chi Hian Foo on Sunday, 11 March 2018

 

93 COMMENTS

  1. this issue was also brought up during the enquiry and notice NO ONE wants to look into it or talk about it…!! Instead they rather spend time asking WP’s Sylvia Lim to apologize for something she brought out in Parliament…sigh Such is the state of our Politic. If this was a oversight by Opposition in 2002, probably committees will be set up to question why in 2002 the upgrading work was not done…mediacorp will probably devote a few hours of primetime to discuss this “lapse in service”…I wish the Politicians will not underestimate the Intelligence of Singaporeans.

    • Yes, guess who is incharged of PAPs gov, transport Minister, SMRT, Temasek during this screw up 16yrs?

      The Dowager Empress of SMRT was a Malaysian salesgirl in Spore Duty Free Shop. After got retrenched, shortly she went to HK to be head hunted back to head the SMRT. A DFS retrenched sales got head hunted from HK to head a $B public transport, must be joking rt? That’s when all problems started, how many good staffs left!!?

      Shops started building around MRT stations. Advertisement covered all windows of Smrt trains & buses until you can’t see outside. Rental kept going up, MRT report big profits but fares still go up.

      Why BG Liew Tuck Wai wasn’t able to solve that little problem, consider HK & Twn have no glitch with its system. Spore can seek their help if need, or from Swiss consultants.

      Then this Malaysian(again?) clown, who screwed up in Health Ministry by asking all charities to copy NKF TT Durai corrupted way, abused his power to block Charity Watchdog to censor Durai until this asshole got so proud to sue SPH & everything leak out. Still this clown never lost his post. And Durai got away with 9mths jail for $30M NKF corruption when others siphoning private company small $ got many yrs jail term. Many hospitals expenses were also skyrocketed under his failed ruling… long story from TTS accountant.

      Then this wannabe clown continue his charlatan trick, volunteer to oversee public housing, again screwed up, price rocketed, either supply shortage or overbuilt…tiles cracked, ceiling fell, cement proliferated till this day. Then the clown regurgitate developers lies, said these are caused by temperature change(recently its too cold 20deg!!! when other countries got winter & hot summer never has such issues), humidity(again other coastal countries 100% humidity never),..Actual reason is most likely mixing of sea sand in the cement work. Many private properties have that problems, owner sued, developer had to admit and repair. Who monopolized supply Spore sand? 6millions dollars qn.

      Now the same clown volunteer again, to do Transport. Everything he touched, all go down, getting from bad to worst. Still LHL highly praised him, but they won’t hesitate to fire previous Transp minister Desmond Chan.

      Don’t you people find it fishy… putting Malaysians in top ministries, failure again & again but still get praise? Even appointed to assume PM duty? What a joke, someone screwed up everything is taking the country driver seat as a sign of endorsement from LHL.

    • Yes, guess who is incharged of PAPs gov, transport Minister, SMRT, Temasek during this screw up 16yrs?

      The Dowager Empress of SMRT was a Malaysian salesgirl in Spore Duty Free Shop. After got retrenched, shortly she went to HK to be head hunted back to head the SMRT. A Malaysian DFS retrenched sales got head hunted from HK to head a $B public transport, must be joking rt? That’s when all problems started…snell fishy? How will talented scholars & engineers work under this Dowager carried in sedan by men in annual D&D?

      Shops started building around MRT stations. Advertisement covered all windows of Smrt trains & buses until you can’t see outside. Rental kept going up, MRT report big profits but fares still go up.

      Why BG Liew Tuck Wai wasn’t able to solve that little problem, consider HK & Twn have no glitch with its system. Spore can seek their help if need, or from Swiss consultants.

  2. Finally it took a foreigner with guts enough to tell the $8/- Minister and the G that it ain’t working so fix it and put competent people in charge instead of paper generals who have zero experience in transport systems and refrain from placing cronies who are good securing brownie points.
    Sad to say this present G is only good at brow beating and threatening people to get them to apologize when told of their mistakes. “Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” does not apply to the whites

  3. This is the Transport Minister to be blame for it during that year real expert already said to changed it in 15 yrs but was not done. Just keep pushing the item try to earn more from ppl using it when ask say sorry than I don’t understand is if everything you want to base on own judgement why get expert to check and give report what to do. you pay ppl money for advice but didn’t listen to suggestion . Or pay too much for suggestion but cover both eyes to do it.example the beautiful rubbish collection centre that cost almost 1 m to do it and it something that has been bulit all over singapore before .really don’t know what to say

  4. Dear Bruno, absolutely agree with you. Thank you for your contribution to Singapore, and taking up the PR here. I admire the Swiss way of living, working and its democracy. I wonder if someone has raised the matter in the past and was brushed aside when the SMRT was listed on stock exchange and as like any government linked companies, they have to be very profitable and dividend paying. Hence, any large capex or opex will be delayed.

  5. See… Last time MPs controlled cost internally to ensure within budget instead of transfer cost to the public.

    “Two years later, Wildermuth took a position with the MRT Corporation and helped build 67 kilometers of the train line – ahead of schedule and under budget.”

  6. Even the scheduling of the buses are ‘screwed up’. I travel to Changi Airport daily after selling all my bikes, cars… to use public transport as a Sr Citizen to work. At peak hours, we will missed 1 or 2 buses as they are over-crowded and the driver refused to let us board. There were times after missing 2 buses, we boarded the bus by the exit door as those alighting had to come down. Simple re-schedulings should be done. Peak hours, schedule more buses after 1 and the other.

    • The price LKY paid for nepotism, putting his incapable son in PM seat, support that immorally son to built 2 casinos (knowing 1∼2% population will hit/die for this gambling problem according to study) against his vow of “casino over my dead body”. And all cabinet ministers declared they never agree (else against their religion, as all are Christian/ Catholics…huh… all? Yes, except the KBW clown self declared fake Buddhist).

      So LKY is spinning in grave now… dishonor son screwed up his empire, and against his last will, threaten own siblings into leaving Spore….

  7. No doubt they delayed upgrading of the system and caused the commuters much distressed at commuters’ expense (eg train delayed or commuters have to walk the rails and admire the scenery for free but they wun refund the train fare) and upgraded the train system at commuters’ expense too (eg they increased train fare and still caused inconvenience to commuters like train hiccups, no train on certain days or chased down the train for certain stations at certain timings etc). Don’t worry! We wun have a free public transport day regardless all these inconvenience and wastage of our time and money and caused us to be late for work and affected our performance. Unless the sun shines from the West in this G!

  8. Yes, guess who is incharged of PAPs gov, transport Minister, SMRT, Temasek during this screw up 16yrs?

    The Dowager Empress of SMRT was a Malaysian salesgirl in Spore Duty Free Shop. After got retrenched, shortly she went to HK to be head hunted back to head the SMRT. A DFS retrenched sales got head hunted from HK to head a $B public transport, must be joking rt? That’s when all problems started, how many good staffs left!!?

    Shops started building around MRT stations. Advertisement covered all windows of Smrt trains & buses until you can’t see outside. Rental kept going up, MRT report big profits but fares still go up.

    Why BG Liew Tuck Wai wasn’t able to solve that little problem, consider HK & Twn have no glitch with its system. Spore can seek their help if need, or from Swiss consultants.

    Then this Malaysian(again?) clown, who screwed up in Health Ministry by asking all charities to copy NKF TT Durai corrupted way, abused his power to block Charity Watchdog to censor Durai until this asshole got so proud to sue SPH & everything leak out. Still this clown never lost his post. And Durai got away with 9mths jail for $30M NKF corruption when others siphoning private company small $ got many yrs jail term. Many hospitals expenses were also skyrocketed under his failed ruling… long story from TTS accountant.

    Then this wannabe clown continue his charlatan trick, volunteer to oversee public housing, again screwed up, price rocketed, either supply shortage or overbuilt…tiles cracked, ceiling fell, cement proliferated till this day. Then the clown regurgitate developers lies, said these are caused by temperature change(recently its too cold 20deg!!! when other countries got winter & hot summer never has such issues), humidity(again other coastal countries 100% humidity never),..Actual reason is most likely mixing of sea sand in the cement work. Many private properties have that problems, owner sued, developer had to admit and repair. Who monopolized supply Spore sand? 6millions dollars qn.

    Now the same clown volunteer again, to do Transport. Everything he touched, all go down, getting from bad to worst. Still LHL highly praised him, but they won’t hesitate to fire previous Transp minister Desmond Chan.

    Don’t you people find it fishy… putting Malaysians in top ministries, failure again & again but still get praise? Even appointed to assume PM duty? What a joke, someone screwed up everything is taking the country driver seat as a sign of endorsement from LHL.

  9. The whole lot has been sleeping. They have been enjoying their luxurious lives which their $millions and $millions can easily afford. Singaporeans had a chance to wake them up in GE2015 but 69.86% threw away their precious chances. Ignorant, stupid and cowardly. So they deserved the big mess in our train services now. If they don’t think and act wisely in the next GE, they may have to do what LKY said – send their women folks overseas as maid and prostitutes.

  10. I have done infrastructure assessment for many critical public sectors facilities. Many of our critical business operations was not upgrade & align to conform to new industrial code of practices. many public sectors job out-task to CPG… GLC’s co. Lapped in maintainance & Ware & Tear upgrade & put in the right monitoring & control. Recently knew problem, SMRT signalling, Fire at T2, little india bus- riot, various water pipes blasted, waste of precious water, singtel telco riser burned & comm impacted, SGX trading impacted-no immediate application backup many are “sleeping”. many are getting very high paid but not knowing how to do the right job. They will wait for the problems than outsource the situation so they relief themselves from reporting the fixes via the G-channel. My experience, these lots of useless G-servant have been moving around as C-level folks, wife or daughter of G-inner circle. Totally no skill. We don’t need so many minister. We don’t need future skills, we should have enough problems cultivated by our 1/2/3/4 gen G. To be look into & using our current reserve to put the situation right. Before something really disaster is going to hit us soon. Bad blood & Bad management have been with “P-circle” since the 1980.

  11. The minister in charge before Yeo CT was Mah BT.
    Two wrongs don’t make one right, as the saying goes!

    Mah Bow Tan
    Minister for Communications 1990-1999

    Yeo Cheow Tong
    Minister for Communications and Information Technology 1999-2001

    Yeo Cheow Tong
    Minister for Transport 2001-2006

  12. If the MRT system did move ahead, we would save a lot of money, land and cheaper form of transportation for the people. Paying more salary to the Great think tanks and paying even more money to cover the mistakes for the wrong decision The final decision maker is completely incompetent.

  13. Hey btw throughout 14 till now16 years , trains still performing quite well. Maybe that the reason the high mgmt save cost? Now it is worsened. Did the previous CEO of MRT cut costs all the time for repair snd maintenance? So we have to renew signalling system. But after renewal, why it still fail?

  14. Desmond Quek, still staying on??? Lucky for Singapore, we are number 1 in quite a few areas and known globally. So let it be known globally that U are indeed the most thick skin useless scholar CEO of a
    the public metro transportation network of Singapore. Lol

  15. This is where PAP wants GST increase in the coming yrs to facilitate that xtra costs .
    Upgrading the rail maintenance system which was delayed far too long
    Building Changi airport T5 for the future
    Building Smart Corridor network
    Aging n Healthcare
    Yet wanna find fault with Sylvia Lim for doing her duty as MP .
    This is a wake up call for PAP !!
    Don’t beat around the bushes !!

  16. Not Someone Sir..the state of our train can be brought back when 1 UGLY women was managing the whole network.She did well in making retail business …making millions for SMRT n our ministers n government were jubilant but they 4got about maintaineance until 2 major breakdown on a Friday evening n 2 days later Sunday.Then our dear PM says…jialat..kick the Ugly women out because someone need to take the blame..frm then..till now…nothing seems to work well..Top management n below staff were not well link…thats y flood water jammed the system 4 2 days…but dun worry…they gound the scapegoat very quickly…n sir …more to come.more

  17. This is where PAP gov wants to increase GST in the coming yrs :
    Upgrading the rail maintenance which was delayed far too long
    Building Changi airport T5 for the future
    Move ahead with HSR to M’ sia project
    Connecting Smart Corridor network for Jurong n Punggol
    Aging n Healthcare
    Yet still wanna find fault with Sylvia Lim for her duty as MP
    This is a wake up call for PAP !!
    People say ” Don’t beat around the bushes “

  18. For so many years smrt ran as a corporate company, with profits. When it was ran by crony’s who neglected the maintenance to up profits, system went south. Today Mr Khaw says ruining cost it high, because all the cockup, now wants to up fares. So easy to be a transport minister?