Singapore

SMRT CEO confident of rebuilding public trust

Commuter confidence hit by two major rail incidents last year, PTC survey shows

SMRT group chief executive Desmond Kuek is confident that the rail operator can rebuild commuters' trust and confidence following two major incidents last year.

He was responding to the results of a Public Transport Council (PTC) survey that showed commuter confidence in public transport dipped following a case of flooding in an MRT tunnel and a collision between two trains.

"Trust and confidence in our network is (something) we continue to need to work on.

"I am very confident that we will in time rebuild that trust and confidence in commuters," Mr Kuek told reporters on the sidelines of a media event.

He also dismissed talk that he will be stepping down, saying reports of his impending departure were "purely speculative".

Mr Kuek had also sent an e-mail to SMRT staff last Friday addressing the speculation about his future, saying that the talk had generated ground concern that must be addressed.

He wrote: "I would like to assure you that when I do, one day as we all must for leadership renewal, you will hear about it from me first. It will not be through some speculative piece in the newspapers."

Commuters who took part in the PTC survey last July, before the two incidents, gave a score of 7.89 when asked if they believed that public transport operators were doing their best to provide them with good services.

The score is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 indicating respondents strongly disagreed, and 10 that they strongly agreed.

Trust and confidence in our network is (something) we continue to need to work on. SMRT group chief executive Desmond Kuek

After October's tunnel flooding and November's train collision, respondents gave a lower rating of 6.69.

When asked if the public transport operators, the Land Transport Authority and the Government were doing their best to improve a commuter's journey experience, those surveyed before the incidents gave a rating of 7.75, but this figure dipped to 6.70 afterwards.

ADVISORY REPORT

These survey results were revealed by the PTC yesterday as it made public its second advisory report on how to improve public transportation in Singapore.

The comparative scores were derived from July's survey of 5,000 commuters and a later poll of around 3,000 commuters following the two major rail incidents.

In a press statement, the PTC said that "while public confidence in our public transport system had dipped following the two rail incidents, commuters remained positive that the Government and public transport operators are doing their best to improve their rail experience".

In the second poll, commuters gave a score of 7.15 when asked if they were confident that the rail system was safe, and a score of 6.26 in response to the question of whether they trusted SMRT was doing its best to provide a good rail service. These questions were not part of July's survey.

The PTC's wide-ranging advisory report also delved into commuters' views of the problematic Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) system.

A survey of about 200 BPLRT commuters found about 51.3 per cent of them were not satisfied with the management of disruptions, especially on the speed and clarity of information transmitted.

To alleviate this frustration, the PTC has suggested that operator SMRT work with community leaders in Bukit Panjang to disseminate such information to residents. 
- ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ZHAKI ABDULLAH

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