SMRT to link more of staff bonus to bus, rail ops

Staff at SMRT's Kim Chuan Depot working on trains yesterday. SMRT says 70 per cent of staff bonuses is tied to operational key performance indicators, and this will be raised to 80 per cent with the new team-based incentives.
Staff at SMRT's Kim Chuan Depot working on trains yesterday. SMRT says 70 per cent of staff bonuses is tied to operational key performance indicators, and this will be raised to 80 per cent with the new team-based incentives.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

Aim is to get staff to work as a team to ensure trains and buses run smoothly

Transport operator SMRT is looking to tie a bigger portion of its staff bonuses to how smoothly train and bus services are run, using a team-based incentive system.

For example, rolling stock maintenance crews, who are tasked with keeping trains well-serviced, will be evaluated partly by how reliable their trains are in operation.

Bus drivers and operation staff at depots will also be evaluated as a team, and will have key performance indicators (KPIs) such as running bus services on schedule and meeting safety standards.

 

"They have to work collectively as team. Ultimately, the hope is to drive better services for the customers," said SMRT vice-president for human resources Gerard Koh.

He said 70 per cent of staff bonuses is tied to operational KPIs, and will be increased to 80 per cent with the team-based incentives. These may be paid on top of the two to three months of annual bonuses that SMRT staff get, he added.

The scheme will also help distribute earnings from the Government's Bus Service Reliability Framework, a carrot-and-stick programme motivating operators to improve the consistency of bus arrivals through monetary rewards and penalties.

Yesterday, Mr Koh unveiled a number of human resource initiatives, including more structured career paths and better remuneration for some positions, alongside plans by the company to expand staff.

While SMRT is in discussion with the National Transport Workers' Union on the final details, it expects to start rolling out its personnel schemes from April 16.

In the train business, SMRT aims to increase staff strength by some 15 per cent, adding 700 staff.

This is to cater for the launch of the 7.5km Tuas West Extension at the end of the year, which will add four stations to the East-West Line, and for the injection of new trains onto the North-South, East-West and Circle MRT lines.

In the bus segment, the goal is to increase staff ranks by 20 per cent, or 500 people, the bulk of them bus drivers. SMRT said this would put more buses on the roads and reduce commuter waiting time.

SMRT's current headcount is more than 9,000, having grown 30 per cent from 7,000 in 2012.

It is also beefing up training, with the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the University of Birmingham to jointly conduct courses at its SMRT Institute.

Pay will also be bumped up by at least 5 per cent for its rail maintenance line managers, said Mr Koh, with programmes to groom potential and experienced diploma- and degree-holders for these roles.

There are some 140 line managers, with plans to add 40 more in conjunction with the hiring boom.

"We need to strengthen this middle layer of experienced people who rose up through the bottom and know the system in and out. The (new) technicians will need these leaders," Mr Koh said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 18, 2016, with the headline 'SMRT to link more of staff bonus to bus, rail ops'. Print Edition | Subscribe