MRT hits new reliability high at mid-year

The MRT network clocked 1.6 million train-km between delays, from 1.4 million in the previous quarter. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - The MRT network has clocked another record: 1.6 million train-km between delays for the period ended June 2020, up from 1.4 million in the first quarter.

Retiring Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan announced this on Facebook on Monday (July 6), calling it "an amazing MKBF of 1,638,000 train-km". MKBF stands for mean kilometres between failures, a measure of reliability used by train operators around the world.

Mr Khaw noted that the MRT's MKBF back in 2015 was "an embarrassing" 133,000 train-km, which was well below high performers such as the Taipei Metro and Hong Kong MTR.

"I said Singaporeans deserved better," Mr Khaw said. "We must be among the best, if not the best, and to sustain that position. For us in public transport, this was our mission, and will always be our mission."

He paid tribute to the rail operators and the Land Transport Authority - the builder and regulator of the network.

The new benchmark of 1.6 million MKBF is "a testimony to the commitment and competence of the present team of rail people in LTA".

"It has been a great honour and privilege to serve our commuters with this team of professionals. I have learnt much from this project, and I have made many new friends along the way," he added.

In a separate post, the LTA said a 12-month MKBF of 1,638,000 train-km "puts us among the best performers globally".

Singapore University of Social Sciences transport economist Walter Theseira said the MKBF was "a great achievement - but one that no doubt comes at a cost".

"As time goes on and we forget the problems that low reliability caused us, the pendulum may swing back towards cost-cutting," he said. "This would be a good time for a body such as the Public Transport Council to work out some objective criteria for trading off cost and reliability and to guide the system towards that goal.

"Because otherwise, the system's performance will just be directed according to whatever is the political pressure of the day, which may well be cost-cutting in the future."

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