SMRT's poor communication about delays and disruptions in Circle Line prevented commuters from making alternative travel plans

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picture credit: Twitter user yassakuhaziq
 

Public transport operator blamed “intermittent signal interference” for the delays and disruptions on Circle Line during the morning rush hour today (2 Nov). It explained that one train stalled in the direction of Dhoby Ghaut disrupting train service between Botanic Gardens and Serangoon stations.

Signalling faults also caused other trains to travel at a slower speed at other parts of the Circle Line.

Two readers who contacted this publication about the delay expressed their frustration. One said: “I was allowed to board the train at Bishan station. After being stationery for about 45 minutes at the same station, I was asked to alight and take a free shuttle bus instead.”

Another said: “I read about the delays in Circle Line in Twitter before setting out to work, but nothing mentioned about Bishan or the service disruption. When I reached Bishan station, there were no indications that the train service was disrupted – no signs, no nothing. The station’s announcement service even said that the train will arrive in a few minutes time. But an SMRT staff was stopping commuters from going down the escalator to the train platforms. After about 45 minutes, we were told to take the buses. I am going to be late for work. If they had been more upfront and clear about the disruptions and delays, I would have made alternative plans to get to work.”

SMRT first Tweeted about the incident at 7.37am. It told commuters to factor in 10 minutes’ additional travelling time between Pasir Panjang and One North stations due to a signalling fault. Two minutes later it Tweeted that the fault is cleared but advised commuters to expect delays as trains and stations were crowded.

At 8.04am however, SMRT Tweeted and asked commuters to factor in 10 mins additional travelling time from Botanic Gardens to Harbour Front. It attributed the delay to signalling fault. It later updated the commuters that the delay will be a 20 minutes ones, and a few minutes afterwards, updated that the delay will be for 30 minutes.

It finally said that service is disrupted between Botanic Gardens and Marymount stations and that commuters will be provided with free bus shuttle service at 9.06am. The disruption was later extended to between Botanic Gardens and Serangoon stations. SMRT said that its engineers were investigating the signalling problem.