Khaw Boon Wan urges Singapore train operators to emulate Taipei for reliability

Commuters boarding and alighting from a Taipei Metro train.
Commuters boarding and alighting from a Taipei Metro train. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Lauding the Taipei metro system for its reliability, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan on Monday (May 30) urged rail operators SBS Transit and SMRT to emulate its example.

Mr Khaw cited the Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation's (TRTC) strong ownership of service reliability at all levels of the organisation, its timely maintenance and replacement of assets, as well as fast response to rail network problems as qualities to follow.

Speaking at a rail engineering forum, he said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) is working with the TRTC to attach staff from SBS and SMRT to its metro workshops to learn its asset maintenance practices and engineering improvements.

Rather than employ their own data on maintenance regime, Mr Khaw said SBS and SMRT should "copy" the TRTC's first and not re-invent the wheel, given that both countries' trains and rail system are similar.


Mr Khaw's observations were garnered from a study trip to Taipei two weeks ago, led by LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong, together with SBS and SMRT.

In 2015, the TRTC clocked a mean distance of 800,000 train kilometres between delays exceeding five minutes, which Mr Khaw called an outstanding performance.

Singapore's rail network achieved an average of 130,000 train-km between such delays. For the first quarter of this year, the preliminary figure is 160,000 train-km.

Building on his goal of 200,000 train-km for this year, Mr Khaw challenged SBS and SMRT to aim for 400,000 train-km between delays by 2018. This should double to 800,000 train-km by 2020, he said.

"This is a very high target... But looking from where we came from, and what others have already achieved, I say: why not? Let's go for it," he said.