Singapore – Singapore’s Land Transport Authority has instructed rail operators in the city-state to improve how they inform passengers when there are train delays.
An LTA spokesman said that the transport authority had received feedback from commuters on rail operators’ public announcements during service delays. That feedback may have come through more traditional avenues but over the last few years commuters have increasingly been taking to social media to vent their frustration at increasing delays.
Anyone searching for #SMRT on Twitter will find plenty of complaints regarding a lack of information around all sorts of rail related problems. The instruction from the LTA states that any delays over ten minutes long must be announced on the train and at the station, if the delays get worse then the operator must take to all forms of social media and mainstream outlets to alert commuters.
The December issue of Rail Professional Asia Pacific features an article from Dr Thilina Weerasinghe about the various woes Singapore’s rail companies have faced in recent years with disruptions a main symptom.
It’s not just that delays don’t get announced, SMRT has been criticised for understating serious incidents. On November 15 during the morning rush hour two trains collided injuring 38 people and causing serious disruption, SMRT announced there would be delays but waited almost three hours to reveal the severity of the incident.
Also, the lack of accurate information can often lead to stations becoming overly crammed with passengers who could otherwise have made different travel arrangements. This in turn results in delays further down the line being longer than what eventually gets announced.
The incident on November 15 took place just one day after SMRT announced it had brought in new engineering talent to help improve safety.
Train announcements across Asia are handled differently.
In Japan when the Tsukuba Express train linking Tokyo and its northern suburbs departed from Minami-Nagareyama Station 20 seconds early, the railway operator issued a sincere apology for the ‘tremendous nuisance’ this caused.