Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan informed commuters on Saturday (10 Mar) that tests on the new train signalling system could be extended to normal operating hours.
He added that passengers can “expect glitches and delays” as testing on the East-West Line extends to revenue hours: “We plan to extend testing to revenue hours, i.e. with passengers on board. Expect glitches and delays. I urge commuters to bear with us and thank them for their patience.”
Explaining the move, Khaw said on Facebook: “Extra engineering hours provides us with longer blocks of time on the train tracks. With ECLO (early closures and late openings) for the entire EWL, we are also able now to test the new system for the entire line, and not just partial stretches.”
He added that testing allows engineers to “calibrate and tune the signalling equipment” on each train and that this “is why re-signalling is so complicated and time-consuming.”
Khaw’s announcement drew the ire of commuters who demanded fare discounts to travel during hours when services may be affected due to testing:
Other commuters pointed out how Khaw tells commuters to expect more glitches and delays on the heels of his proclamation in parliament last week that the public transport fare formula is “inadequate”. The Minister had said, “We must be careful that (fares) are not priced too cheaply, as maintaining a high-quality transport system requires resources. Cheap fares are popular, but they are not sustainable.”
Still other commuters asked the Minister whether he can ensure that students or employees who are delayed to school or work during the testing period will not be penalised for being tardy: