MRT network hit new high in measure of reliability

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The MRT network hit a new high in a measure of reliability last year, with trains clocking an average of 690,000km between delays - 3.8 times better than the year before.

The improvement came on the back of asset renewal programmes, additional train runs and completion of new lines.

The North East Line (NEL) was the star performer, chalking nearly 1.4 million train-km between delays of more than five minutes each, according to figures the Land Transport Authority released yesterday .

The new Downtown Line was next, with 928,000km, followed closely by the North-South Line with 894,000km and Circle Line with 728,000km.

The East-West Line - the last to have its resignalling upgrade done - clocked 408,000km between delays, but is expected to show continuous improvement.

The North-South Line, the oldest, posted the best improvement - jumping from 89,000km between delays in 2017 to 894,000km last year.

There were nine major delays (over 30 minutes) on the network - down from 16 in 2017.


The Sengkang and Punggol LRT rose from 115,000km to 216,000km, but the entire network was pulled down by weaker performance on the Bukit Panjang LRT. The latter hit 43,000km between delays - down from 53,000km.

Singapore University of Social Sciences transport economist Walter Theseira said: "With completion of resignalling and other needed works, we are now reaping the benefits of these investments.

"But I think we need to also pay attention to the human impact of these disruptions as an incident has very different implications depending on what time of day it occurs and for how long."

Other observers have also pointed out that train speeds have not reverted to pre-2011 levels, and overcrowdedness - especially during morning peaks - remains an issue.

Marketing and communications head Eugene Mok, 33, said: "There are fewer delays and breakdowns from 2017, but I'm not sure if it is now four times better... 2017, after all, was disastrous with all the delays caused by engineering works."

IT consultant Davis Li, 35, said he, too, feels there has been an improvement. But he noted that journey time between Tampines and Jurong East - his daily commute - is still "five to 10 minutes longer" than stated.