Transport Minister Says S’pore MRT Reliability Will Be Much Better in 2019

Yes, guys, there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Granted, it’s only 2017 but still.


So how did this statement come about? Why only in 2019?

Here’s what you need to know.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan Celebrates The Completion of NSEWL Renewal Project


The entire project consists of a major overhaul of the 30-year-old tracks, including sleeper replacement tracks which took four years to complete.

Other phases include upgrading of the signalling system, power supply system and track circuits, and replacement of the 66 first-gen trains.

On 12 September 2017, it was reported that part two of the Northsouth-Eastwest-Line (NSEWL), replacement of the power-supplying third rail, is completed.

And our transport minister was there to mark the day.

Two out of six core systems to be replaced in the renewal project, Mr Khaw projected that the entire NSEWL will stabilise by 2019.

Even though the entire project will only conclude in 2024.

By 2019, 3 out of 6 core renewal would have taken place

According to Mr Khaw, each phase will result in a “quantum improvement” in rail reliability.

He claimed that the North-South Line has seen greater improvement ahead of East-West Line because the former was upgraded first.

And here’s why he said so.

Mean Kilometre Between Failure (MKBF)

For the first half of 2017, the MKBF of NSL hit 345,000km, an improvement of 120% compared to the same period last year.

On the other hand, the EWL only saw an improvement of 94 percent.

Take note that in this case, a failure refers to a delay of more than 5 minutes.

But here’s the kicker.

East-West Liners (read: those who take EWL daily), get ready. Intensive testing for EWL new signalling system will begin in December.

You know what that means, right? There’ll be teething problems (read: MRT breakdowns and people going haywire) for East-West Line.

Of course, don’t take my word for it. Here’s what one expert says.

Commuters can expect a smoother ride by 2019

Singapore Institute of Technology assistant professor Zhou Yi said that currently, most of the current faults happened because of signalling issues.

He predicted that we’ll continue having these problems till 2018 but the system should be “reasonably stabilised” by 2019.

He expects there to be lesser and shorter delays because the engineering team would’ve gotten experienced and learnt from the problems of the NSL.


And if you’re wondering how our transport minister can say there’s an “improvement in rail reliability” so convincingly when this is happening…


It’s all about the numbers

According to statistics, the NSEWL carries 70% of Singapore ridership every day around the island.

The newer lines like the North-East (Purple), Circle (Yellow) and Downtown (Blue) lines only carry about 30% of the Singapore ridership.

Then take into consideration that the NSEWL account for 60% of the major breakdowns occurring from 2015 to the first half of this year.

In this case, major breakdowns are taken to be the incidents exceeding 30 minutes.

The other lines, on the other hand, account for 30% of major breakdowns for the same period.

Add in the fact that out of 15 major disruptions reported this year, 13 of them took place either during the morning or evening peak hours.

Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that with more lines added (increased distance in the network) plus more trains injected into the network, it helps to increase the distance clocked by trains between each failure.

That’s why even when numbers show that rail reliability has increased, it sure doesn’t feel like it from the ground.

Anyway, back to the topic.

The good news is there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Of course, we’ll have to wait two years lah.

But at least we have something to count down to, right? #AlwaysLookOnTheBrightSide


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Boon Hun

Boon Hun

Armed with paper and pen, or rather keyboard and the internet, he wants to change the world one word at a time. I guess you could call him a keyboard warrior, except he doesn't troll, honest!
Boon Hun