Re-examine design and construction of MRT infrastructure

I am a frequent traveller to Hong Kong. Recent discussions with my friends there, who are immigrants from Singapore, yielded some views as to why the MRT system in Singapore is prone to frequent breakdowns.

They opined that the fundamental cause might have something to do with the design and the manner in which the MRT infrastructure was constructed many years ago.

Construction of the earliest section of the MRT was completed some time in 1987. This was almost 10 years later than Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway (MTR).

So, it defies logic that Hong Kong's train operations are more reliable than Singapore's.

While they conceded that the MTR also experiences disruptions, in terms of severity and frequency of breakdowns, the MRT is significantly worse. Needless to say, the inconvenience and man-hours lost arising from the frequent train disruptions translate to huge losses in financial terms.

Perhaps it is time that the authorities, in collaboration with train operators and specialist consultants, carefully re-examine the rail infrastructure - the objective being to sieve out any design or construction flaw that may have inadvertently escaped our attention back then.

Zhang Guocheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2017, with the headline 'Re-examine design and construction of MRT infrastructure'. Print Edition | Subscribe