The Public Transport Council has kicked off this year’s fare review exercise today, inviting train operators to submit fare applications to the Council by 29 September. The Council aims to strike a balance between “keeping our public transport fares affordable and ensuring the long-term viability of the public transport system.”
The annual exercise has begun amid fresh train service breakdowns this morning. Services in the East-West line were delayed for over 4 hours this morning due to yet another “track fault.”
SMRT said that the fault this morning is not connected to the new signalling system that has created issues in the recent past.
The breakdown also affected passengers on the North-South line as well and is one of several such massive delays to inconvenience commuters just this month.
Interestingly, today’s breakdown comes two days after Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan visited Bishan Depot with SMRT’s new chairman.
The minister said:
“We are working on it. I visited Bishan Depot recently with SMRT’s new Chairman Mr Seah Moon Ming. I first met Seah MM during SARS when he was chairing ST Electronics. We had to work fast together, to come out with new diagnostic devices, to pinpoint fever cases and identify contacts and track them down for possible isolation. It was a crisis and quick response, based on sound science and engineering was critical in the fight against SARS. We had a very fruitful partnership. After SARS, I asked him to help out again, on various occasions, to stabilise Ren Ci after the Ming Yi scandal, and in KTP Hospital to help put technology to good use in a hospital setting. I have no doubt his chairing #SMRT will speed up our efforts to raise rail reliability, to meet the new target of 1 million train-km before any delay exceeding 5 minutes.
“Seah MM is a practical engineer who leads both from the trenches as well as from the board room. I joined him in the trenches recently, in the wee hours of the morning, to give support to our troops on the ground. I also brought some cookies to stock up their pantry, especially for those who will be starting shift later into the night. Maintenance work is not only physically punishing, but also a race against time. Every minute matters as we have only 4 hours every night after the last train pulls in. Within this short window, hundreds of maintenance crew work religiously on various parts of the train network. They grind, weld, scan the tracks, check the trains to eliminate possible faults. And on top of the regular maintenance schedule, they have to replace the ageing assets: sleepers, third rail, signalling equipment, power sub-stations etc. It is a thankless but critical job, so that #Singaporeans can wake up to smooth journeys to work and school. While the occasional brickbats may dampen their spirits, they are never daunted. Their focus is give their best so that Singaporeans can enjoy safe and reliable journeys.”
THe Public Transport Council said it will be guided by the existing fare adjustment formula, which considers the consumer price index, energy costs and wages, and is valid until the end of 2017.
The fare adjustment quantum to be considered for this year’s exercise is -5.4 per cent and the decision on the quantum will be announced in the last quarter of 2017.