Satisfaction level up for MRT service: Survey

Commuters during rush hour at Paya Lebar MRT station on the Circle Line.
Commuters during rush hour at Paya Lebar MRT station on the Circle Line. ST PHOTO: DON CHI

Despite reports of MRT service disruptions from time to time, consumers have grown more satisfied with the MRT as well as the overall land transport sector in the past year.

The MRT had a customer satisfaction score of 66.4 in the latest Customer Satisfaction Index from April to July. This was up from its score of 62 for the same period last year.

In April, commuters taking the North-South Line suffered at least three service delays in the space of a week, including an April 25 disruption that affected services along three MRT lines and an LRT line.

"From the data, train reliability and helpfulness of staff were key drivers of quality," said Mr Chen Yongchang of the Institute of Service Excellence at Singapore Management University (ISES), which publishes the index, at a press conference yesterday.

"And for the operators, we do see them working in the right direction by trying to fix these issues through initiatives like adding more trains, (and) replacing the signals and sleepers," he said, adding that they had also stationed customer service officers at train stations during peak hours.

A total of 13,355 respondents were polled for the survey.

Overall, consumers were more satisfied with the land transport sector, which had a score of 66.8 out of 100, up from 63.3 last year.

Taxi services, for instance, scored 70, up from 65.9 last year.

For the first time this year, participants were asked to rate their satisfaction levels with land transport booking apps. Uber ranked first with a score of 69.7, followed by Grab and ComfortDelGro.

"Given the recent increase in the availability and adoption of mobile apps within the land transport space, we found it timely to introduce, for the first time, a new sub-sector that tracks customer satisfaction in this area," said Ms Neeta Lachmandas, executive director of ISES.

She added that security and factors associated with ease of use of the apps were key factors in the perceived quality of the apps.

The study also found that customers have grown more satisfied with the air transport and public education sectors over the past year.

Changi Airport scored 81.4 points, up from 75.1 last year.

Customer satisfaction with budget airlines increased from a score of 68.3 last year to 69.5 this year, with tourists being more satisfied than local passengers.

Tourists cited factors they liked, such as cleanliness of the cabin, and food and beverage options, while local passengers were more concerned with the ability of the budget airline to accommodate their needs.

Also seeing an improvement was the public education sector, which improved from a score of 74.1 last year to 75.7 this year.

Meanwhile, postal services, represented by SingPost, saw a decline in customer satisfaction, from 71.5 last year to 67.9 this year. Mr Chen said this was due to its lack of ability to meet customer expectations and a decline in quality.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2016, with the headline 'Satisfaction level up for MRT service: Survey'. Print Edition | Subscribe