Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
Singapore
 

LTA taking no further action against SMRT over ACS(I) chartered trains

Published on Aug 29, 2014 8:38 PM
 
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Friday that it will not be taking further action against SMRT after it provided five chartered trains to a school. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Friday that it will not be taking further action against SMRT after it provided five chartered trains to Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) to ferry students to a rugby match.

It said it has noted measures taken by the train operator to ensure that there was no impact to normal train operations and commuter safety when it provided the service to the school on Tuesday.

An LTA spokesman said: "While LTA will not be taking further action against SMRT, we have reminded SMRT to respect and fulfil its licence obligations, and that its primary focus must continue to be on providing timely and good service to public commuters. We will continue to consider each application by operators to provide such services on a case-by-case basis."

The train operator had been criticised by some netizens after it allowed ACS(I) to charter five trains to take 3,000 students to a rugby match at the new National Stadium.

The LTA had said on Tuesday that it would take "appropriate action" against SMRT for not seeking its approval before providing this private service.

The LTA spokesman also emphasised the need for all rail licensees to seek prior approval from the train service regulator, before operating any chartered train services.

He explained that the LTA was part of an organising committee for National Education shows and was aware of the past charters. Hence SMRT was not required to specifically apply to LTA for permission.

The spokesman added: "LTA has a responsibility to safeguard the interests of the commuting public, to ensure that train services are provided as scheduled, and any additional chartered trips do not adversely affect the quality of train services for commuters and the maintenance of the trains and rail network."


Here is the full LTA statement:

In response to media queries, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) would like to explain why all rail licensees must seek prior approval from LTA, the train service regulator, before operating any chartered train services. LTA has a responsibility to safeguard the interests of the commuting public, to ensure that train services are provided as scheduled, and any additional chartered trips do not adversely affect the quality of train services for commuters and the maintenance of the trains and rail network. It is, after all, taxpayers and public transport commuters, who fund the train system. If rail licensees, which are commercial entities, are free to charter out train services as and when they like without seeking the prior approval of the regulator, the commuting public may be the parties adversely affected. LTA takes its responsibility to safeguard such interests of the public, vis-à-vis the commercial interests of the rail licensees, seriously.

2 With careful planning and execution, occasional train charters during off-peak hours can be carried out in an efficient manner without adverse impact to public commuters. For the past charters for National Education shows, the LTA being a member of the National Day Parade Executive Committee has oversight of transport arrangements required, and works closely with partners such as SMRT to allow chartered trains to be provided for students attending the shows. That was why for these past charters, SMRT was not required to specifically apply to LTA for permission.

3 On SMRT’s provision of chartered train services on 26 August 2014, LTA notes that measures were taken such that there was no impact to normal train operations and commuter safety. While LTA will not be taking further action against SMRT, we have reminded SMRT to respect and fulfil its licence obligations, and that its primary focus must continue to be on providing timely and good service to public commuters. We will continue to consider each application by operators to provide such services on a case-by-case basis.

 

Videos