LTA fines SMRT $1.6 million for disruptions, SBS Transit hit with $50,000 penalty

Train services were disrupted along the North-South Line at around 8.11am on 20 January 2014, due to a train breakdown near Ang Mo Kio Station. Rail operators SMRT and SBS Transit will been fined $1.6 million and $50,000 respectively for disrupt
Train services were disrupted along the North-South Line at around 8.11am on 20 January 2014, due to a train breakdown near Ang Mo Kio Station. Rail operators SMRT and SBS Transit will been fined $1.6 million and $50,000 respectively for disruptions on their MRT lines. -- PHOTO: STOMP

SINGAPORE - Rail operators SMRT and SBS Transit will been fined $1.6 million and $50,000 respectively for disruptions on their MRT lines.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Monday it will fine SMRT $400,000 and $900,000 for two safety breaches on the East-West Line in October last year and January this year in which trains passed a red signal light when they should have stopped, thus damaging the track and disrupting service.

SMRT also faces a $200,000 fine for a 40-minute disruption on the North-South Line in January, and another fine of $100,000 for a 50-minute disruption in May.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said SMRT had failed "to comply with established procedures and processes". The $900,000 fine is the second-highest ever single fine imposed on an operator, after two massive breakdowns in December 2011 saw SMRT receiving two fines of $1 million.

SMRT acknowledged the latest fines issued by the LTA and said its senior management views the incidents seriously. "We draw lessons from each incident and have since assessed and reviewed our procedures to further tighten existing operating and maintenance processes," said SMRT spokesman Patrick Nathan.

As for SBS Transit, maintenance staff caused a short-circuit at Potong Pasir station on March 21, thus disrupting service between Boon Keng and Woodleigh for 40 minutes. This resulted in a $50,000 fine. The $1.65 million in fines will be donated to the Public Transport Fund to help needy families with transport fares.

The LTA said it will tighten its oversight on the operators' training regimes and carry out more audits and checks.

Releasing figures on train delays in the first half of this year, the LTA said the number of trains withdrawn from service has dropped to 1.3 withdrawals per 100,000 train-km travelled compared to 3.3 in 2012 and 2.2 last year.

Delays on the North-East and Circuit Lines have also come down compared to last year. However, the number of delays on the North-South and East-West lines has increased. There were 1.54 delays of five minutes or more per 100,000km in the second quarter of this year, up from 1.3 delays per 100,000km last year.

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