SINGAPORE - The rail network continued to improve in the first quarter of this year, with all lines except two chalking longer distances between glitches.
Based on a 12-month moving average, the Land Transport Authority said on Friday (May 3) that the MRT network on the whole clocked 786,000 train-km between delays in the first three months. This is an improvement from 690,000 train-km for the whole of 2018, and puts Singapore on a par with reliability standards in Hong Kong and Taipei.
The North East Line operated by SBS Transit was the star performer, chalking 2.07 million train-km between delays - almost double what it posted in 2018. Next was the North-South Line operated by SMRT, which manged 1.1 million km, up from 894,000km.
SBS Transit's Downtown Line was close with 923,000km, down slightly from 928,000km for the whole of last year. SMRT's Circle Line clocked 661,000km between glitches, down from 728,000km.
SMRT's East-West Line remained the weakest-performing line, but showed an improved 515,000km between delays - up from 408,000km.
The LRT network also performed better, with 115,000 train car-km between delays in the first quarter, a rise from 82,000 car-km. The Sengkang-Punggol LRT posted 297,000 car-km between delays (up from 216,000 car-km last year), while the Bukit Panjang LRT chalked 60,000 car-km (up from 43,000 car-km).
In terms of major delays, which last more than half an hour, the rail network had five in the first three months. The East-West and Circle MRT lines had one each, while the Bukit Panjang LRT had two and the Sengkang-Punggol LRT, one.
While the reliability statistics are significantly rosier than before, which in the case of the MRT system is more than 10 times better than 2011's figures, observers point out that train speed and service frequency have not shown improvement.
In fact, train speed has not returned to pre-2011 levels.
Meanwhile, early closures and late openings of stations continue to be an inconvenience to commuters on weekends. And reliability of station amenities like escalators are still patchy.