SMRT to face $1.9m in fines for deaths of two trainees and flooding incident

A stalled train in a flooded tunnel between Bishan and Braddell MRT stations, on Oct 7, 2017.
A stalled train in a flooded tunnel between Bishan and Braddell MRT stations, on Oct 7, 2017.PHOTO: ST READER

SINGAPORE - Rail operator SMRT faces fines totalling $1.9million for two incidents in the last two years which disrupted train services.

One was an accident in March 2016 which resulted in the death of two SMRT trainees, and the other was the flooding near Bishan MRT station in October 2017, which affected about 231,000 commuters.

In deciding the final amount of the fine, regulator Land Transport Authority (LTA) said on Friday (July 20) that it will also consider any other mitigating facts SMRT may raise.

The LTA statement said in the 2016 case, investigations found the SMRT work team failed to comply with operating procedures for track access during train service hours.

"These lapses were further compounded by inadequate supervision of MRT operations at the time of the accident," it added.

The LTA also said the operator had failed to take necessary measures to ensure the safety and health of its employees.

On Mar 22, 2016, two SMRT trainees were hit by a train while they were on the railway tracks investigating a possible signalling fault between Tampines and Pasir Ris stations.

SMRT will face a fine of $400,000 for this incident.

In the flooding case, LTA held SMRT "fully responsible", as it was preventable if the Bishan storm water sump pit and its pumping system had been maintained properly.

It said it intends to fine SMRT $1.5 million for the flooding, under under the Rapid Transit Systems Act.

 
 
 
 

"In assessing the penalty amount for each of the two incidents, LTA has considered all facts and the severity of the incidents. LTA will also consider any other mitigating facts which the operator may raise as part of the due process for the imposition of the financial penalties," it added.

The fines collected will go to the Public Transport Fund to help needy families with transport fares, the LTA said.

On a more recent issue, the LTA disclosed that last November's (2017) collision between two trains at the Joo Koon station was due to a problem with the signalling system, not SMRT's actions.

SMRT in a statement on Friday (July 20) apologised for the incidents and said that it was committed to "doing all we can to prevent future incidents from happening".

It said that since the incidents, it has implemented various measures and adopted the Kaizen methodology, to continually strengthen and enhance its systems and staff management.

SMRT also said it has been "working closely" with LTA to improve the reliability, maintenance and safety of the MRT network, as well as to improve its resilience and robustness.

"In recent months, trains have been running more smoothly, providing better journeys to our commuters. SMRT is fully committed to our mission of providing safe, secure and reliable services to commuters," said its chairman Seah Moon Ming.