WP proposes 3 ways to improve MRT

Commuters entering and exiting the train at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station at 6pm on Dec 9, 2015.
Commuters entering and exiting the train at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station at 6pm on Dec 9, 2015. ST PHOTO: JEREMY LONG

The Workers' Party (WP) yesterday proposed three ways to improve the rail system, following Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan's recent call for the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to beef up its engineering team.

WP Non-Constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) Dennis Tan and former NCMP Gerald Giam said the Government should ensure ageing rail assets are replaced on time, publish information about these assets, and set a deadline for negotiations on a new rail financing framework to be finalised.

The proposals come a week after Mr Khaw asked the LTA to be ready to take over the operation and maintenance of the rail network, should the Government decide to restructure the rail industry.

Speaking at a community event in Serangoon, Mr Tan said rail parts and equipment should be replaced by the manufacturers' recommended expiry date, adding that it is "unacceptable for the MRT to operate at any time with equipment that has expired".

The party also wants information related to the maintenance of rail assets to be monitored and published yearly, so as to "provide some sort of forecasting", said Mr Giam.

Its third suggestion is for the Government to set a deadline for the LTA and SMRT to conclude negotiations on a new rail financing framework, which would see the Government assume ownership of all operating assets.

Mr Tan called on the Government to provide updates on the talks, which began over two years ago, saying a deadline was necessary to avoid delays in replacing critical rail assets.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2015, with the headline 'WP proposes 3 ways to improve MRT'. Print Edition | Subscribe