Service improved 30 per cent last year compared to 2015, but number of major breakdowns slightly up
The number of major service delays on Singapore's rail network increased slightly last year.
There were 16 major breakdowns - defined as delays lasting more than 30 minutes - on the 180km network last year compared to 15 in 2015. The ageing East-West and North-South lines had the most delays - five and four respectively.
Despite an increase in the number of major service delays, rail reliability on the network improved overall last year.
Trains managed to run an average of 174,000km before a delay of more than five minutes occurred.
This is a rise of 30 per cent from 2015, when they achieved 133,000km before a delay.
Permanent Secretary for Transport Pang Kin Keong, who announced these figures at the third Joint Forum on Infrastructure Maintenance yesterday, said the improvements were a result of sharply increased investments in renewal and upgrading of assets, as well as intensified maintenance.
But he said as the number of delays lasting more than 30 minutes has risen, "more needs to be focused on this front".
The most reliable line was the newest, the Downtown line, which clocked 260,000km.
The Circle Line, despite suffering a number of delays due to its signalling system last year, achieved 228,000km.
The North-East Line hit 174,000km, while the North-South and East-West lines averaged 156,000km and 145,000km respectively.
Reliability on the LRT network also improved from 42,000km in 2015 to 49,000km last year.
Despite the improved performance, some commuters said they regularly experience delays.
Research nurse Pang Yan, 29, said she experiences about two delays a month, some lasting more than 10 minutes, on the East-West Line.
She said the effects of delays are particularly bad at interchange stations.
"It can get very crowded at Buona Vista when there's a delay. Sometimes people even have to stand on the staircases," said Ms Pang, who travels daily from her home at Lakeside to her workplace at Kent Ridge.
Singapore's network reliability falls short of Hong Kong's MTR, which clocks 360,000km between disruptions, and Taipei's metro, which has a reliability standard of 800,000km.
Mr Pang, however, said he was confident about meeting the Government's target of 400,000km by next year.
The Government will spend more than $4 billion improving rail assets in the next five years, in addition to the $20 billion being spent on new rail lines during the same period, he noted.
The Land Transport Authority will also work with operators to expand its monitoring tools, including a new generation automatic system to look at track conditions.
This article was first published on Jan 13, 2016.
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