LTA adopts new way of tracking rail breakdowns

The crowd inside Hougang MRT station on Sept 8 during a rail breakdown.
The crowd inside Hougang MRT station on Sept 8 during a rail breakdown. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Land Transport Authority has adopted a new method of counting rail disruptions. This excludes those caused by "external factors".

Figures collated with this new method turn out to be rosier than previously. For major breakdowns (those longer than 30 minutes) for instance, the LTA said there were 10 last year (2014) - down from 12 recorded with the old method.

And, in the first nine months of this year, the authority said there were seven such disruptions. With the previous method, there were already seven major incidents in the first six months.

The LTA did not provide third-quarter figures under the previous method, but according to The Straits Times archives, there were at least three major breakdowns in the three-month period, including an unprecedented one that disabled the entire North-South, East-West lines on July 7.

The authority said the new method of counting disruptions excludes "factors beyond the control of the operators and LTA, such as passenger action". For instance, if a commuter's foot gets stuck in the gap between the train and station platform.

In the first three quarters, "about 15 per cent" of disruptions longer than five minutes each were caused by these factors, the LTA said on Friday (Dec 11).

For delays of more than five minutes, LTA will also report according to the "mean distance travelled between delays" instead of the number of delays per 100,000km.

It said the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway and the New York City Transit use a similar methodology.