SMRT New CEO Sold Car to Take Train to Work

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It’s easy to talk (just ask our boss who just talk and do nothing), but it’s not easy to walk the talk.

And it seems like the new SMRT CEO is going to walk the talk: he has just mentioned on his first interview since taking the hot seat of a troubled firm that he has sold his car and would be taking the train to work instead.

A Visit to SMRT’s Bishan Depot That Made Him The Star of SMRT

Let’s face it: SMRT hasn’t had it good in the last few years. From repeated breakdowns to a fatal accident, and even floods in a tunnel, you know you’re going to read angry comments whenever they got into the headlines.

It doesn’t help that they’ve openly admitted that it’s all due to “deep-seated cultural issues”.

This led to a (rather) high turnover on the hot seat: After Saw Phaik Hwa quit as SMRT CEO in 2012, former SAF General Desmond Kuek took over but left on 31 July 2018.

Another former General Neo Kian Hong took over on 1 August 2018, and today’s interview put him back into the spotlight (because let’s face it: we forgot all about it le):

On a visit to SMRT’s Bishan depot today (13 August 2018), Mr Neo is seen telling reporters that he has moved to Shunfu, which is somewhere around Upper Thomson with the nearest MRT at Marymount MRT Station. SMRT HQ is at North Bridge Road, with the nearest MRT Station being City Hall MRT Station (though we’re not certain if his office is there).

Adding on, he said, “I sold my car earlier on but I didn’t want to buy a new car, because it is more useful for me to take the MRT to understand the issues and also take our company’s assets like our taxis and buses and so on because I can do work at the same time when I’m travelling.”

Not bad, considering that car prices are dropping nowadays.

So, yeah: if you see a former Chief of Defence Force reading a report in the train while on your way to work, it’s Mr Neo.

Heartwarming and Sincere

I’m not sure about you, but the way he speaks aligns with what others have spoken of him. When he was announced to be the next SMRT CEO, people who have worked with him spoke fondly of him, in particular to his down-to-earth and his no-wayang attitude.

I mean, speaking Singlish on his first interview?

Goals for SMRT: Reliability, Sustainability and Improvement.

Mr Neo has set out three goals for the company: he wants to provide reliability, create sustainability and always having improvements.

Well, these are pretty vague goals and they should set SMART goals (see what I did there?), but so far, there’s a good start: from next month onwards, six new trains would be added to the Red and Green Lines, with another six to be added by early 2019.


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These new trains would have seats that can be tipped up, kind of like cinema seats. They would be folded up during peak hours to allow more passengers to stand, and folded down during off-peak hours for people to sit (since there would be less passengers).

A good start, indeed.

Now, let’s move forward with less breakdowns, pretty please?