SMRT appoints 2 chief maintenance officers

SMRT said the move to appoint two chief maintenance officers is in line with the transition to the new rail financing framework in October 2016. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Rail operator SMRT has appointed two chief maintenance officers to be in charge of strengthening its maintenance regime and engineering capabilities.

One of them, Mr Yee Boon Cheow, is on secondment from the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

The deputy group director for rail infrastructure and expansion at LTA started in his new role with SMRT on Thursday (Feb 1).

He will work alongside Mr Chia Chun Wah, SMRT's current senior vice-president for maintenance and engineering, who was also appointed as a chief maintenance officer on the same day.

Mr Yee has been with the LTA since 1999, while Mr Chia has been with SMRT since 1994.

Mr Yee will also concurrently head the Integrated Maintenance Office, which is a part of LTA's collaboration with SMRT to jointly improve rail reliability and performance.

In a statement to The Straits Times, SMRT said the move to appoint two chief maintenance officers is in line with the transition to the new rail financing framework in October 2016.

Under that framework, SMRT works more closely with the LTA - which took over ownership of all rail operating assets - to improve rail reliability through maintenance regimes and the replacement of ageing rail parts.

SMRT said on Thursday that it also appointed Mr Alvin Kek, currently the senior vice-president for rail operations, as chief operations officer for rail.

Mr Kek, who joined SMRT in 2013, will oversee operations for the North-South and East-West Lines, the Circle Line and the Bukit Panjang LRT system.

Several changes have been made in SMRT, as the company looks to recover public confidence in its rail operations, amid public frustration with frequent disruptions and an MRT tunnel flooding in October 2017 as a result of maintenance lapses.

The company got a new chief spokesman from February, with Ms Margaret Teo, the head of corporate and marketing communications, taking over from Mr Patrick Nathan, who has announced his resignation and is expected to leave the company in March.

Corporate communications veteran Elaine Koh was also appointed chief commuter engagement officer in January. To champion the needs of commuters, she will look at aspects of MRT operations and maintenance that affect the ride experience.

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