4-hour delay on Circle Line leaves commuters frustrated

This article is more than 12 months old

Some commuters said better communication from SMRT was necessary

There were delays on the Circle Line that stretched up to four hours during the morning rush hour yesterday, leaving many commuters frustrated.

Some commuters said SMRT should have done a better job in communicating with passengers, especially about information on where to go to board the free buses.

The disruption affected the line from Serangoon to Botanic Gardens stations.

CROWDED: Passengers stuck in a train on the Circle Line. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/ TASHA ALTEZ

Mr Trevor Tan, 51, an insurance agent, told The New Paper that he was late for his meeting with a client at Ang Mo Kio Hub.

The Manulife Financial agent, who started his journey at around 11.30am, said: "I walked around Serangoon MRT station for 40 to 45 minutes. I wanted to take the free buses, but I did not know where to take them because there were no clear instructions."

Mr Tan was supposed to meet his customer at noon, but because of the delay, he got there at about 1pm.

He said: "I had to postpone my customer's appointment. The buses that I wanted were not under the free service. It was frustrating.

"Luckily, my customer was very understanding and she said 'don't worry'."

Mr Tan said he has been in at least two train delays in the past.


His frustration over yesterday's delay was shared by others.

One commuter who wanted to be known only as Mr Thomas, said he wasted two hours being stuck in the train at Bishan MRT station.

He said he had left home at 8am for his workplace in Lorong Chuan and was supposed to report by 8.30am.

The 65-year-old auditor told TNP as he walked away hurriedly: "But now it's already 11.05am. I have a lot of important work to do."

Miss Lee Suk Marn, 24, and her colleague, Miss Yap Ke Xin, 24, both telemarketers, were on their way to work, from Ang Mo Kio to MacPherson. They stopped at Bishan MRT station and were supposed to change from the North-South Line to the Circle Line, which was affected by the delay.

Miss Lee said: "The delay has been very long. (We) have been here since eight plus. We have been trying to find a taxi, but they were all hired."

Miss Yap said that SMRT personnel should also direct people to the free buses. She said it was very chaotic at Bishan MRT station, and that she and Miss Lee were confused over how to get to MacPherson from Bishan.

STUCK: (Above) Long queues outside Bishan MRT station. PHOTO: SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

Students were also affected by the disruptions.

A group of Year 1 students from Raffles Institution said they were late for their class by one hour. They were worried as they were scheduled to do a dry run of their project work presentation for their A levels.

One of them said: "We were supposed to be in school at 9.30am, but ended up reaching at 10.30am. Luckily, it was just a dry run."

With yesterday's delay, there have now been four train disruptions nationwide in the past three weeks.

Mr Eric Er Seng Huat, 64, a retiree, felt that the repeated breakdowns were a cause for concern.

He said: "SMRT needs to find the root of the problem... When foreigners come to Singapore and encounter such breakdowns, it's not very good for (Singapore's image)."



In the morning: The disruption on the Circle Line started with a signal fault, which operator SMRT tweeted about at 7.37am. Later, services between Marymount and Botanic Gardens MRT stations were disrupted.

The disruptions then extended to Serangoon and Botanic Gardens MRT stations.

At 10.27am, SMRT tweeted that normal train service had resumed.

A joint statement by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT said preliminary investigations found that the cause of the disruptions was interfering signals that disrupted the Circle Line's own signalling-related communications.

The Circle Line had similar signal faults in early September this year, which resulted in slower trains and longer waiting times.

In the evening

SMRT tweeted at 5.48pm that there was a second stoppage on the East-West Line, with no train service from Queenstown MRT station to Outram Park MRT station.

The cause of the disruption was because of a train fault. Train service resumed at about 6.20pm.

Oct 25

A train leaving Jurong East MRT station developed a signal fault at about 6.50am and caused delays of up to 40 minutes.

Oct 21

A west-bound train near Dover station had its brakes stuck during the morning rush hour, which resulted in a longer travelling time from Queenstown to Jurong East stations.

Oct 18

A track fault caused delays of up to 20 minutes between Tanah Merah and Bugis MRT stations.