The number of train delays last year has gone down compared to 2012, based on latest figures from the Land Transport Authority (LTA). Across the MRT network, the number of incidents causing delays of more than five minutes for every 100,000km travelled went down by 20 per cent, from 1.49 in 2012 to 1.18 last year.
The LTA attributed the improved reliability to the implementation of several targeted measures by joint teams it formed with rail operators SMRT and SBS Transit. The number of rail disruptions had spiked in 2011, with several high-profile breakdowns.
For instance, since the middle of last year SMRT has adopted new technologies, such as an automated detection system on the North-South and East-West lines to pick out flaws on current collector shoes, which draw power from the third rail so the trains can run. It will also complete a project to replace all power cables on the Circle Line by the end of this month.
On the North-East Line, SBS Transit and the LTA have found an alternative material for components of its overhead power system, and started replacement works. Faulty components such as U-bolts had previously led to several major disruptions on the line. Separately, the LTA said commuters can expect shorter waiting times this year especially during off-peak periods, as the operators have bumped up the number of weekly train trips to improve service.
For the North-East Line, more than 400 weekly train trips - a 13 per cent increase - have been added since Jan 1 this year so trains arrive every three to five minutes during the off-peak, down from every four to six minutes.
On the North-South and East-West lines, more than 400 weekly trips will be added over time to bring off-peak frequencies to less than five minutes by this September.