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Khaw Boon Wan: Commuters may have to wait longer for trains during off-peak periods

The minister for transport said that this would reduce unnecessary wear and tear on the system which then drives up maintenance costs

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Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan has announced the possibility of extending the intervals between trains during off-peak hours of the day.

The longer wait times are part of efforts to better match demand and supply, and also help to reduce unnecessary wear and tear on the system.

Earlier today (August 30) Mr Khaw spoke at the SBS Transit (SBST) Sengkang Depot to celebrate improvements in rail reliability. He explained that in July, the MRT network recorded a mean kilometres between failure (MKBF) of over 1 million train-km. This measures the distance travelled before a train fault that lasts more than five minutes.

Looking at long-term sustainability plans, he added that increasing intervals during off-peak hours would set things in motion.

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Currently, SMRT and SBST trains arrive at stations every five to seven minutes during off-peak hours.

Mr Khaw also noted that longer intervals between trains is already the case for the Changi Airport and Tuas West Extension lines.

“This also reduces unnecessary wear and tear on the system that drive up downstream maintenance costs”, he said.

It is the same for bus services.

Cost-efficiency is another key area of focus, Mr Khaw said, adding that new efforts and initiatives by SMRT and SBST have led to total savings of more than S$25 million.

The team also plans to move beyond cost savings, as Mr Khaw said train operators are also looking to boost non-rail revenues.

The Land Transport Authority recently outsourced the rights for retail and advertising on the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) as part of efforts to improve the line’s financial sustainability. /TISG

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