By: Victor Eng
On 21st August 1980, Mr Ong Teng Cheong (before he became President of Singapore) speaking at an event in his constituency said:
“MRT would also represent a quantum leap in the quality of public transport. The comfort, efficiency and reliability of MRT would make urban travel less burdensome, and enable US to make more meaningful use of our time.
“It would, in short, represent an altogether new dimension in urban mobility that would revolutionalise living habits and lifestyles in much the same way as the aeroplane which has added a now dimension in international travel.”
36 years later, ‘Quantum Leap’ has become a buzzword in the Transport Ministry again.
Minister of Transport Khaw Boon Wan speaking in Parliament said, “we need a quantum leap in the numbers and in the capabilities of our rail industry, both to up our existing maintenance standards, and to cope with a rapidly expanding network.”
Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo said, “Our goal is for (the rail system in) Singapore to make a quantum leap, to be among the best in the world.
Mr Ong promised Singaporeans that we would have a quantum leap with the MRT system, and we did. It has been 30-years since the MRT started rolling. How did we deteriorate so fast in the last 30-years that the Ministers in the Transport Ministry are looking for another ‘quantum leap’ again?
And if our rail system needs another ‘quantum leap’ why is SMRT the biggest operator of our rail system not concentrating on its core business of running trains efficiently and looking at growing other business ventures?
It was reported 3-days ago that SMRT wants a slice-of-the pie of the private-hire car services, and so is joining hands with competitor-turned-partner GrabCar in its foray into the industry.
Then yesterday, it was reported that SMRT would be partnering a Netherlands-based company to bring driverless ‘pod’ travel into Singapore.
These are all distractions for SMRT from concentrating on its core service of providing world-class train service to its commuters.
Other bloggers have already pointed out that Mr Khaw’s celebration of “100 disruption-free days” in the North-South Line (NSL) operated by SMRT is hollow. He was celebrating the lack of major disruption, and not the lack of total disruption in NSL during that period.
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