Commuters face crowded trains, slower journeys after software fault on East-West Line

Commuters were reportedly not allowed to enter the gantries around 9am on Oct 24 after a software fault occurred on the East-West Line. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/VANAN RAJAINDERN

SINGAPORE - A software fault along the East-West Line (EWL) caused traffic congestion for commuters during the morning peak on Tuesday (Oct 24) as trains moved at slower speeds for safety reasons.

Mr Patrick Nathan, SMRT's vice-president of corporate communications, told The Straits Times that the EWL "encountered a software fault on the legacy signalling system" at about 8.30am on Tuesday.

"The fault was rectified in around 10 minutes, but the EWL experienced some train traffic congestion during the morning peak because trains had to move at slower speeds for safety reasons when the fault occurred," he said, adding that commuters may have encountered delays as a result.

Mr Nathan said that station and train announcements were made to inform commuters about the fault and to add an additional train travelling time of 10 minutes. Normal services resumed at 9am.

"We apologise for the inconvenience caused to affected commuters on their peak-hour commute," he said.

SMRT did not make any official announcements on its social media channels.

One commuter, Ms Ruth Paul, told ST that she was at Bedok MRT Station around 8.55am when she realised staff were turning away commuters from the gantries.

"No one could get onto the platform," she said. "They stopped people from tapping their cards in."

The 36-year-old regional manager said she used the Grab app to call a taxi, which cost her $18.

"The platform at Bedok is usually full during the morning peak. The trains coming in are so full, I wait for three to four trains before I can get in one," she said. "But today, I could not get in at all."

Commuters posted updates about the delays online from around 9am.

Vanan Rajaindern wrote on Facebook group Tata SMRT (The Alternate Transport Advisory & Spore Magnificent Rescue Team) that there seemed to be delays at Pasir Ris station.

He posted a photo of commuters crowding the concourse.

Tan Bao Zhen wrote that SMRT made an announcement about a signalling fault on the EWL.

"Expect 10 min additional time," she wrote. "I've been stuck on the way to Raffles Place for much longer than that."

SMRT chairman Seah Moon Ming had announced a slew of measures to improve MRT reliability on Monday, including a move to increase the number of rail engineers by 40 per cent in the next three years.

This came a week after Mr Seah apologised for the tunnel flooding incident along the North-South Line that affected train services on Oct 7 and 8.

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