Train breakdown better managed this time: Lui Tuck Yew

Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew (R) speaking with SBS Transit staff.

SINGAPORE: Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said Thursday’s train breakdown appears to be better managed.

The North East Line train service between Dhoby Ghaut and HarbourFront stations was disrupted on Thursday due to a power supply problem in the tunnel at Outram Park Station.

He said that he had taken the North South Line to Dhoby Ghaut station and there were announcements made informing commuters of the disruption on the North East Line.

This, he said, was in contrast to the major breakdown in December last year, when train operators only made announcements on the affected lines.

Mr Lui was at Dhoby Ghaut station to assess the situation.

Speaking to Channel NewAsia, Mr Lui said although SBS Transit managed to handle the situation in an orderly manner with frequent bridging bus services, commuters were not aware that they could make use of normal bus services which were also free.

In January, Mr Lui told Parliament that LTA is working with transport operators SMRT and SBS Transit to allow free travel on bus services that serve MRT stations where train services are disrupted.

The arrangement applies across both operators, so that affected commuters can continue their journey on either operators’ bus services for free, regardless of which line is disrupted.

During Thursday’s disruption, commuters could travel on either SBS Transit’s 124 or SMRT’s 190 services for free.

But Mr Lui observed that very few commuters were aware of this.

"Not many people were rushing to board those buses at all. So we need to do a better job to make sure that people know that there are other services that are also free that will help them to get to their destinations just as quickly," he said.

Mr Lui said a thorough check will be done on the entire North East Line to ensure that the problem with the connecting cables at the Outram Park station is confined to that stretch.

LTA will also discuss with SMRT and SBS Transit on ways to better manage the crowds at the affected MRT stations.

— CNA/cc