SMRT announced that it is going to spend another $90m or more on a new signaling system so that trains can arrive 20 sec or 30 sec earlier. Before even questioning whether this is money well spent, let me just recount my experience with the train services these few weeks after the resignation of the CEO.
I used to take the early trains and my timing has not changed. The strange thing that is happening now is that the interval of trains arriving in the early hours on the East West and North South lines has improved. But this is not all. The trains are less crowded than before and there is ample breathing space between the commuters. No longer would the commuters be forced to breath in the BOs and stench of unwashed commuters beside them.
This is a great improvement and no need to waste millions on another signaling system if it can be achieved at all hours. Funny how things could improve so drastically within a few weeks of the CEO’s departure.
The after office hour rush and jam have also improved dramatically. But this stretch is still not tolerable as the trains are still quite packed. A little more tweaking with a couple more trains could do the trick. I think it is all about more thorough management or a different management philosophy from one that is profit priority to one that is commuter centric.
I would suggest the SMRT keeps monitoring and review the train flow and tweak wherever necessary to improve the service and hold back on the huge expenditure that may not be necessary. And that expenditure need not be passed down to the commuters with higher fares again.
I hope SMRT, LTA and Lui Tuck Yew are listening.