Ambitious Rail Reliability – Desmond Kuek

Wondering what the experts have to say about rail reliability in Singapore? This Straits Times news article quotes SMRT CEO and Group President, Desmond Kuek and National University of Singapore transport researcher Lee Der-Horng. Also quoted is Hong Kong Polytechnic University transport practice professor Lee Kang-Kuen. Read on to know about the prospects for rail reliability in Singapore and how this would impact you as a commuter.

Here’s a summary of what SMRT CEO, Desmond Kuek had to say in the very first Singapore Rail Technology Conference. In the context of Singapore’s MRT:

  1. “The North-South and East-West MRT lines managed 144,000 train-km between disruptions in the first 10 months of this year. This was the best performance for the lines since 2012.”
  2. “The 2018 target of 400,000 train-km between disruptions is an ‘ambitious aspirational target’ for the MRT network here. What this means, is that our trains cumulatively travel no less than 10 times around the Equator, or more than 4,000 times across the length of our North-South and East-West lines, before incurring a single delay of more than five minutes”. Desmond Kuek also added that only a small handful of rail operators internationally have managed to hit such targets consistently.
  3. “SMRT is working hard to achieve the target and is ‘encouraged by the steady progress already made’. This includes upgrading efforts such as the replacement of sleepers and third rails on the North-South and East-West lines, which is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of next year.
  4. “These changes make SMRT better able to provide safe and reliable service, without the burden of heavy and lumpy capital expenditures, and the distractions of meeting short-term earnings expectations.”

SMRT CEO, Mr. Desmond Kuek also mentioned about the delisting of SMRT from the Singapore Exchange earlier this month. Another point was the introduction of the new rail financing framework last month. This transferred ownership of assets such as trains to the Government.

Desmond Kuek quotes about rail reliability targets.

SMRT CEO Desmond Kuek on ambitious rail reliability targets.

These pointers indeed show promise for a more reliable and trustworthy commute for the citizens of Singapore.

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