In 2011, many Singapore Mass Rapid Transit train services were disrupted.

List of MRT disruptions in 2011Edit

North South Line (NSL)Edit

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The two train services that disrupted on the North South Line that took place on 15 and 17 December 2011 were the worst breakdowns in SMRT's 24-year history.[2][3][4][5] All MRT stations on the North South Line and East West Line were further closed due to checks on all trains and tracks to be carry out. Train services started at 10 am instead. Free parallel bus services were also available from 5.30 am to 10 am. However, as the checks were not completed, train services were delayed up to two hours. Train service on the East West Line resumed at 11 am while North South Line resumed fully at 12.08 pm.[6][7]

Committee of Inquiry (COI) into December 2011 breakdownsEdit

In December 2011, the government commissioned a Committee of Inquiry into the state of breakdowns and disruptions of the train services.[8] The committee is headed by Tan Siong Thye, Chief District Judge of the Subordinate Courts and the two other committee members are Professor Lim Mong King from the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Nanyang Technological University and Soh Wai Wah, Director of Prisons. This was being raised on the May 7, 2012 when there was a Facebook post incident. This was blamed for not having proper maintenance since 2008.

On July 3, 2012, the Committee of Inquiry submitted its report to Transport Minister, Lui Tuck Yew.[9] A response is expected to be given by the Transport Minister to the COI report at a parliament sitting which held on July 9, 2012.[10] On July 4, 2012, the 358-page COI report made available to the public, cited shortcomings in SMRT's maintenance regime and checks done [11]:

  • MRT claws were replaced since January 2012 with the whole process completed in October 2012 and tunnel lights were switched off.
  • The upgrading of Multi-Function Vehicle capability
  • Review of third rail gauging tolerance and maintenance regime
  • The third rail support covers also need to be replaced, with the process started in 2015.
  • Wheel Impact Load Detection (WILD) is being activated at Lavender, Tiong Bahru, Braddell and KPE, inclusive of Jurong Town Hall Road since September 2011.
  • Improved monitoring and rectification of wheel defects
  • Improvements to backup power supply, with the lifespan extended from 1 day to 5 days.
  • All older trains must be equipped with TIMS
  • Implement a risk- and reliability-based maintenance approach
  • Harnessing technology more effectively to enhance maintenance regime
  • Greater collaboration among SMRT's technical departments
  • Planned MRT closures for maintenance work
  • Review train-to-track detrainment SOPs (which has been done progressively).
  • Review SMRT command structure
  • Review incident management plans (IMP)
  • Improving communication and clarity between stakeholders
  • Review alternative transport options
  • Review station managers’ role during disruption
  • Enhance effectiveness of Customer Service Teams (CST)
  • Improve communications and information dissemination during disruptions
  • Post incident briefing and training
  • Conduct of train service disruption exercises
  • Review of rail incident process
  • Sleeper replacements has been done since January 2012 and will end in 2017

On February 2012, MRT rail clips fell off at near Tradehub 21, Ang Mo Kio and Clementi. The metal clip is one of two clips that secure the horizontal wooden piece of the track to the two vertical metal rails.

Emergency ExercisesEdit

On 22 November 2012, the Land Transport Authority carried out a ground deployment exercise with SMRT to test their incident management plans in the event of a train service disruption. In total, about 135 personnel including representatives from the Singapore Police Force's Transport Command (TransCom) and SBS Transit participated in the exercise. Train service continued as per normal and commuters were not affected by the exercise. Codenamed 'Exercise Greyhound', the exercise went through the scenario of a broken rail on the East West Line at Buona Vista which affects train service from Clementi to Queenstown stations. SMRT had also activated their Rail Incident Management Plan.[12]

On 22 August 2013, ‘Exercise Greyhound 2013’ was carried out by the Land Transport Authority with SBS Transit to validate the procedures of SBST’s Operations Control Centre (OCC) and the workability of its contingency plans for bus bridging, free bus service and deployment of Goodwill Ambassadors (GAs) during a simulated prolonged train service disruption with smoke detection. About 300 personnel including representatives from LTA, SBST, SMRT, the Singapore Police Force’s Transport Command (TransCom), Traffic Police and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) participated in the exercise. Train service continued as per normal and commuters were not affected by the exercise.[13]


Dissatisfaction with public transportationEdit

While Singaporeans began to noticing some issues with the MRT system in terms of overcrowding, the December 2011 disruptions brought the state of public transportation as a whole to national and international prominence.[14] LTA also noted a marked increase in dissatisfaction with public transport with the release of the 2012 Public Transport Customer Satisfaction Survey, and promised government action to deal with issues relating to MRT and LRT disruptions.[15]

Changes to government policyEdit

The government increased the penalty of train disruptions,[14] and made free travel available for any bus services passing MRT stations affected during any train disruptions.[16] To increase satisfaction with the public transport, the government introduced the Bus Services Enhancement Programme and free morning off-peak travel to the city since 24 June 2013 as interim measures to cope with the demands of the public transport system.[14]

Financial penaltiesEdit

For the December 2011 disruptions, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) imposed a maximum financial penalty of S$5 million on SMRT (approximately US$1.526 million) for the two train disruptions along the North South Line (NSL) on December 15 and 17, 2011.[17] For the July 2015 disruption, LTA imposed a higher penalty of S$5.4 million on SMRT.[18]


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