SINGAPORE: Transport operators will face stiffer penalties for train disruptions.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) plans to peg the maximum penalty to a percentage of the operator’s annual fare revenue from the affected MRT line to hold them more accountable.
It aims to complete the required legislative changes later this year. The LTA said this will help to ensure that the maximum penalty is sufficiently commensurate with the emphasis on ensuring a safe and reliable rail network.
The Transport Minister visited SMRT’s Bishan Depot on Thursday morning to get an update on the operator’s measures to improve the rail network’s reliability.
One of the measures is a sensor fitted on trains to detect a sagging power rail on the North—South and East West Lines.
Mr Lui said: "S$1 million will not be the maximum if it was a very severe disruption and that is the intent of the amendment.
"The message to the operators has always been that you really have to step up to improve the reliability and the safety. While they exceed the KPIs that we set for them, my feel is that there is much work that can be done."
The current maximum penalty that can imposed on operators is S$1 million. The penalties for breaching operating performance standards and codes of practices will also be adjusted — to make them more effective as deterrents.
Operators can also be penalised if there are too many train delays lasting more than five minutes.
The Rail Transit Systems Act will be amended to reflect the changes.
For the two train disruptions on the North—South Line in December 2011, SMRT was fined the maximum penalty of S$1 million for each incident.
SMRT’s annual fare revenue for all MRT lines for the financial year ending 31 March 2012, reached S$569.9 million.
The LTA is also exploring ways to reduce waiting time for commuters during non—peak periods.
It is aiming to bring down the waiting time to five minutes, except for periods when ridership is extremely low.
Efforts to achieve this for the North—South and East—West lines are underway.
The improvements for the North East and Circle lines can be expected when new trains arrive in 2015.
In light of the stiffer penalties that are to come, SMRT’s CEO Desmond Kuek said his company will focus on improving reliability of the network. "Our focus is really not on the quantum of the penalties. Our focus is rightly on improving service quality service standards to make sure there are no train disruptions in the first place, then there will be no penalties that will be relevant to us."
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