Now, SMRT Faults Are Spreading To Taxis As Well


SMRT has been making the headlines very much for its faults.

Just last Wednesday, 25 October, SMRT said that due to a track fault, trains to city will travel slower between Ang Mo Kio and Bishan in a tweet.

Commuters were advised to travel via Jurong East and take the East-West Line to the city.


And later in the morning at 8am, SMRT advised commuters to add 10 minutes in train travel time from Yishun to Toa Payoh.


I’m not sure about you but I’m pretty numb when it comes to train or track faults. Like the news is so yesterday.


But SMRT continues to wow us this time not with its trains but its cabs.

Here’s what happened.

Early Monday morning, on 30 October 2017, part-time SMRT taxi drivers were locked out of their vehicles. This is due to a 3-hour technical glitch on the transport operator’s short-term taxi rental service portal, SMRT Taxi Share.

For those who don’t know what’s SMRT Taxi Share, it was rolled out in January by the company.

It requires taxi drivers to pre-book a taxi, head to the nearest pick-up point, and get on to indicate that they would like to “Start Trip” — a button that would only be enabled past the starting time of their booking — before their cars would be unlocked.

Sounds very tedious indeed, but it is the livelihood of our taxi drivers.

Anyhow, this scheme allows those with a taxi driving vocational license to rent taxis in three-hourly blocks by picking up and returning the taxi at a location convenient to them. Hourly rental is between $6.80 to $12.80.

You know, sort of like those part-time Uber / Grab drivers who rent a car for a few hours just to earn some extra income.

Thus, when drivers were met with an unresponsive “Start Trip” button on Monday morning, they had to make noise.

While those who were attempting to end their shifts weren’t too looking forward to paying late charges. Mind you, late charges are S$10 for every 15 minutes or part thereof. I wouldn’t be pleased to pay extra charges when it’s not my fault at all.


And we do what we do best – complain.


The drivers who were affected by this saga vented their irritations to a Taxi Share Facebook group after having troubles reaching SMRT on its hotline.

“I waited (for an) hour (but I) still can’t contact (the) SMRT officer. Can I cancel to get (a) refund from SMRT?” said driver Leslie Chang.

Another driver, Lester Tan, who was supposed to get on the Toyota Prius he rented from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (peak hours) posted, “I can’t unlock the car since 6am, and now (it’s) 7am. The clock (started) ticking. Please refund.”

Others left their disagreements on the page:

“SMRT, if your system breaks down, please message or email to all drivers.”


I understand the frustrations of those affected. Not only just because of the extra charges incurred, it’s also loss of income.

For example, a 43-year-old driver, Mr Alvin, decided not to work after he stood outside his taxi for 30 minutes from 6am.

“So no income today… (The Taxi Share system for the) whole (of) Singapore is down, same as their trains,” he told TODAY.

According to Mr. Alvin, this technical glitch has allegedly happened to him twice in 7 months.

To be fair to all, technical issue do happen when it comes to technology. Companies are always striving to minimize downtime, but it’s always impossible to get a 100% up-time.

The only thing that has no downtime is ERP, perhaps?


I hope the plan to hire 200 more engineers would really solve some real-time problems for all of us.

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