SINGAPORE - Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said Singapore's rail network has reached a new level of reliability.
At the seventh Joint Forum on Infrastructure Maintenance on Friday (Nov 2), Mr Khaw disclosed that the overall system had clocked 660,000 train-km between delays in the first three quarters of the year.
Last year, the distance was 180,000 train-km.
Mr Khaw noted that 660,000 train-km was "two-thirds" to his target of 1,000,000 train-km between delays by 2020.
The minister noted that the North-East and Downtown lines - operated by SBS Transit - have already crossed the 1,000,000 mark. The Circle, North-South and East-West lines - operated by SMRT - have yet to reach the target, although he added that he was confident these lines will reach the target in due course.
However, it would not be sustainable to keep raising standards, said Mr Khaw, as there could be 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 the age of 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 - even though he was accountable to shareholders - was clear about his objective of providing an essential service to Singaporeans.
"That must be the first priority," he recalled Mr Kua saying. "Making money is incidental."
Mr Khaw said Mr Kua had contributed much to public transport, and that his legacy will continue.