20160501 SMRT major disruptions caused by cutting costs, inept management

I have been trying to understand how SMRT service has deteriorated to such an extent that no matter what it does, regular and more severe major disruptions have occurred.

Any person of average intelligence would have known that ridership would continue to increase because PAP was increasing the population at the rate of about 100,000 annually.

Increased train frequency = More frequent maintenance required, no need to be a scholar to understand this.

However, instead of hiring more staff, SMRT had decreased its headcount from 6194 in FY 2003 to 5457 in FY 2007 (table below).

Source: SMRT FY2007 AR (pg 13)

SMRT probably had the blessings from the PAP government to reduce headcount in the face of:

– increasing daily ridership of 355,000
– increase in the number of MRT stations from 51 to 66
– increase in track length by 20 km.

Hmm .. all the above really don’t need maintenance meh?

(Total number of buses (SMRT+SBS) was reduced by 217 but this doesn’t justify SMRT decreasing 737 staff.)

Year MRT stations MRT track(km) Employees Ridership (daily)
2002 51 89.4 6194 1080000
2006 66 109.4 5457 1435000
Inc / Dec 15 20 -737 355000
2010 84 129.9 6565 2069000

LTA 2002 stats
LTA 2006 stats

SMRT had probably wanted to impress its boss, Temasek, with more dividend distribution. What better way to do so then reduce headcount? Maintenance was a waste of time since there had been fewer major disruptions in the past, or so SMRT thought.

This was a huge mistake as evidenced by SMRT subsequently ramping up headcount by about 1100 in 2010. By then, the damage had been done and years of neglect is not easy to rectify.

As the PAP continues to increase ridership through its mindless immigration policy, our MRT system may even come to a complete halt one of these days.

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