Confidence in public transport dips following MRT tunnel flooding and train collision: Survey

When asked if the public transport operators and the Government were doing their best to improve a commuter's journey experience, those surveyed before the rail incidents gave a rating of 7.75, but this figure dipped to 6.70 after. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Commuter confidence in public transport took a dip following two major rail incidents last year involving an MRT tunnel flooding and a collision between two trains.

Before the incidents, commuters who took part in a Public Transport Council (PTC) survey last July gave a score of 7.89, when asked if they believed that public transport operators were doing their best to provide them with good services.

After October's tunnel flooding and November's train collision, however, respondents gave a lower rating of 6.69, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 indicating they strongly disagreed, and 10 that they strongly agreed.

When asked if the public transport operators, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Government were doing their best to improve a commuter's journey experience, those surveyed before the rail incidents gave a rating of 7.75, but this figure dipped to 6.70 after.

These survey results were revealed by the PTC on Thursday (Jan 25), as it made public its second advisory report on how to improve public transportation in Singapore.

The comparative scores were derived from a PTC survey of 5,000 commuters conducted last July, and a subsequent poll of around 3,000 commuters following the two major rail incidents.

In a press statement, the PTC said: "PTC's surveys found that while public confidence in our public transport system had dipped following the two rail incidents, commuters remained positive that the Government and public transport operators are doing their best to improve their rail experience."

In the second poll, commuters gave a score of 7.15 when asked if they were confident that the rail system was safe, and a score of 6.26, in response to the question of whether they trusted that SMRT was doing its best to provide a good rail service. These questions were not part of the July survey.

Asked about PTC's findings, SMRT's group chief executive Desmond Kuek said: "Trust and confidence in our network is (something) we continue to need to work on."

He added, however, that he took heart with the survey's findings that commuters were "by and large satisfied with SMRT's service."

"I am very confident that we will in time rebuild that trust and confidence in commuters," said Mr Kuek on the sidelines of a media event during which SMRT announced a staff training programme to help commuters with special needs.

The PTC's wide-ranging advisory report also delved into the commuter's views of the problematic Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) system.

A survey of about 200 BPLRT commuters found that about 51.3 per cent of them were not satisfied with the management of disruptions, especially on the speed and clarity of the information transmitted.

To alleviate this frustration, the PTC has suggested that operator SMRT work with community leaders in Bukit Panjang to disseminate such information to residents.

The council has also suggested that dialogues be held with stakeholders such as SMRT, community leaders, residents and the LTA, on the overhaul of the BPLRT.

A total of 21 recommendations were given by the PTC in its advisory report, which took on board the feedback of a total of 11,000 commuters, through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews.

Other areas touched on included making public transport more accessible and convenient for the visually and hearing impaired, along with improving the cleanliness and customer service on the rail network.

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