Singapore's rail network has reached a new level of reliability, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.
At the seventh Joint Forum on Infrastructure Maintenance yesterday, he disclosed that the overall system has clocked 660,000 train-km between delays in the first three-quarters of the year.
The figure was 574,000 train-km in the first half, and 180,000 train-km for the whole of last year.
Mr Khaw noted that 660,000 train-km was "two-thirds" of his target of 1,000,000 train-km between delays by 2020.
He added that the North-East and Downtown lines - operated by SBS Transit - have already crossed the 1,000,000 train-km mark.
The Circle, North-South and East-West lines - operated by SMRT - have yet to reach the target, although he was confident that these lines will reach the mark "in due course".
According to Land Transport Authority figures, the LRT network also showed a marginal improvement, chalking up 80,000 car-km between delays in the first nine months - up from 77,000 car-km last year.
The number of major delays - those lasting more than 30 minutes - has also fallen. There were six on the MRT network in the first three-quarters of the year, compared with 16 for the whole of last year.
The improvement in the LRT system was less obvious, with nine major delays versus 11 last year.
At the same time, the minister said it would not be sustainable to keep raising standards as doing so could have an adverse impact on factors such as safety and cost. He said that once the system is up to an acceptable level of reliability, the challenge would be to maintain it at that level.
"We have turned the corner, but our job is not yet done," he added, noting that three major asset renewal programmes - to replace the power system, track circuits and first-generation trains - are yet to be completed.
Mr Khaw also took time to pay tribute to former ComfortDelGro Corp chief executive Kua Hong Pak, who died at 74 on Wednesday. He said Mr Kua was among the first people he consulted when he joined the Transport Ministry three years ago.
He recalled that Mr Kua was clear about his objective of providing an essential service to Singaporeans, even though he was heading a listed company and was therefore accountable to shareholders as well.
"That must be the first priority," he recalled Mr Kua saying. "Making money is incidental."
Mr Khaw also said that Mr Kua had contributed much to public transport, and added that "his legacy will continue".