THE Land Transport Authority (LTA) has fined SMRT nearly $400,000 for causing severe disruption to train services betwen the Tanah Merah and Pasir Ris MRT stations on Jan 21.
Services were interrupted for seven hours and 17 minutes because one portion of a maintenance train hit another parked portion during routine maintenance works.
This happened at 3.10am on the rail section between the Tampines and Simei MRT stations. The incident immobilised one of the locomotives and a rail grinding vehicle, rendering the tracks impassable.
Normal train services resumed at 12.45pm, after the vehicles were removed.
Investigations showed that the incident was the result of SMRT not complying with operating procedures. It had not secured the parked portion of the maintenance train, made up of a locomotive and a wagon, during maintenance works.
The locomotive's parking brake was not applied and no wheel choke was placed to prevent movement along the gradient of the track, leading to the roll-back of the parked maintenance train, which then knocked into the other vehicles.
LTA takes a serious view of such disruptions as they cause inconvenience to not only train commuters but other motorists as well.
In this instance, many commuters were distressed, despite SMRT's efforts in deploying 70 buses to provide bridging services between the affected MRT stations.
That is why LTA has decided to impose a financial penalty of $387,176 on SMRT. SMRT has up to two weeks to show cause why the penalty should not be imposed.
LTA is now working with SMRT to make sure that should disruptions occur in future, commuters are updated frequently on the incident even before they reach the affected MRT stations.
Alternative transport will also be arranged in a timely manner and more effective bus bridging services will be provided during an extended service disruption.