SMRT sets up team to engage commuters

Rail operator SMRT has appointed a chief commuter engagement officer for the first time, to enhance the quality of service.

This is one of several initiatives to improve train services launched by new SMRT chairman Seah Moon Ming, reported Lianhe Zaobao.

"Commuters are at the heart of everything we do at SMRT. We see the importance of listening to and acting on feedback from commuters in a timely and effective manner," he told the Chinese daily on Tuesday.

He said the new officer, who will take up the job next month, will champion the needs of commuters by looking at various aspects of MRT operations and maintenance that affect their journey experience.

"We must proactively take care of our commuters' interests. SMRT values every (piece of) feedback and will deliberate each and every one in a careful and considered manner," he added.

SMRT noted that the team led by the new officer will further promote the development of SMRT as a passenger-centric organisation that provides a safe, reliable, caring and comfortable train service.

The team will focus on listening to and collecting passengers' opinions, designing new and attractive customer touchpoints, strengthening community ownership and promoting inclusive services.

SMRT said it will announce who is taking on the role and other details of the team early next year.

Levels of public satisfaction with train services have decreased this year over a series of delays and incidents, including the Oct 7 tunnel flooding which shut down rail services on a part of the North-South Line for about 20 hours, affecting 250,000 commuters.

Commuters were less satisfied with train services than a year ago, according to the Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore for the second quarterreleased by the Singapore Management University's Institute of Service Excellence in September. On a scale of zero to 100, the MRT system scored 64.8 points, a fall of 1.6 points from the same period last year.

A survey commissioned by The Straits Times and conducted between Nov 30 and Dec 4 by Moovit, a public transport app and mapping provider, also found commuter confidence hit by train delays.

The online poll of 711 commuters found that 30 per cent factored in up to 10 minutes more for their MRT trips; close to 20 per cent gave themselves 10 to 20 minutes more, while another 14 per cent set aside more than half an hour extra.

More than half, or 57 per cent, said they did not have any buffer time when using the MRT three years ago.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 21, 2017, with the headline 'SMRT sets up team to engage commuters'. Print Edition | Subscribe