To my avid followers, I have to beg your pardon for my hiatus towards the end of 2013, as I was buried under piles of projects; demanding loads of my undivided attention. Not to mention, the environmental issues were no longer news, except they were worsening & escalating, if not repetitive.
A quick recap of the issues towards the end of 2013 – that didn’t require much elaborating; frequent MRT outages – the new downtown line (phase 1) experiencing down time on opening day. Not withstanding the typical outages on incumbent lines towards the year end festive shopping seasons. Massive mayhem & congestion on the newly opened “submarine” MCE (marina coastal expressway); the delays doubled the traveling time compared to normal routes. The number of DHF cases continued to climb to all time highs, death toll increasing etc. The epic hollywood fight scene involving foreign workers rioting in Little India, resulted in overturned police cars & ambulance set ablaze… etc.
To date, we’re into the 4th week of 2014, and we’ve already encountered several epic fails happening on the MRT again. This time round, the outages take place back to back, fast & furious.
January 11, 2014 (Saturday), train disruption between Kranji and Yew Tee stations (north-south line) at about 1pm. Reports have it, that commuters had to alight & walk the tracks towards the nearest train station, under the punishing mid-day sun.
January 20, 2014 (Monday), blackout at Outram Park underground station (north-east line) during morning rush hour. Apparently, back up generators didn’t kick in, neither did the battery backed emergency lights function. Commuters were made to evacuate in pitch darkness; many relied on their mobile phones to light the way.
January 20, 2014 (Monday), reports of signal fault between Yio Chu Kang & Ang Mo Kio stations (north-south line) in the morning rush hour, resulting in more than 19000 commuters inconvenienced.
Nobody knows how many times unreported service delays; from time to time on any other given day takes place.
By now, many would have already learned about the recent announcement on fare hikes for public commute. I’m not a mathematician, and I don’t really understand how the fare hikes affecting the vast majority, would benefit the minority that are least likely to maximize the benefits anyway.
The familiar economics phrase says – “When supply exceeds demand, prices plummet. When demand exceeds supply, prices spike”
It is quite obvious that the rapidly increasing human population on this tiny island; is indicative that the demand for public commute is on the rise. Meanwhile, the frequent outage of public commute causes a decline in the supply… and when you put 1 & 1 together, you get the answer.
The public transport service providers are private entities/ public listed, and it seems legitimate that they do their part to answer to the shareholders. Sad to say, when their core business of providing commute service is a let down, it probably won’t make sense if shareholders continue investing in an entity that fails to deliver.
The general public & typical commuting community is & will be incensed when the fare hikes are implemented, since the issue has recently become a talking point.
Let’s be realistic. There are more than 50 train stations on this tiny island, and everyday, after train services end, there are only so few hours for housekeeping & maintenance to take place. With only 1 or at most 2 companies awarded to carry out the maintenance on the growing railway network, increasing the outlay towards maintenance will not remedy the situation adequately and quick enough.
They claim the investigations conclude that cables in use are inferior, if not faulty. It doesn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to warrant a full scale anti-corruption investigation- to find out how & why the material in use are inferior, or not compliant to the industry standards that are critical to the operations of the network.
Whatever the case is, given the pace of how problems have been surfacing, we should sit tight and anticipate more “good” to take place in the months to come.
It’s only January…