Train breakdowns: Fines ineffective

The $5.4 million fine handed to SMRT will hardly hurt the train operator's bottom line ("SMRT fined $5.4m for massive breakdown"; Sept 24).

A fine can also be classified as an operating expense. Before long, this will be passed on to commuters as part of fare increases. A fine on SMRT is, thus, a fine on commuters.

For as long as the MRT system is run by a public-listed company, whose primary objective is profit maximisation for its shareholders, the root problems will remain.

Repairing the tracks and electrical wiring may solve the technical problems, but does not solve the underlying problem.

If the Land Transport Authority is unable or unwilling to change the MRT operating model, then, for any punishment to be effective, the board and management of train operators must be held personally accountable and liable.

Patrick Tan Siong Kuan