I follow some documentary series on National Geographic like Air Crash Investigation and Seconds From Disaster. When I read our Committee of Inquiry (COI) report on the SMRT breakdowns in December last year, I can’t help but think that our COI’s work showed stark similarity with those of air accident investigation agencies.
Our COI seems do have done a pretty comprehensive job. They determined the chain of events that led to the 15th and 17th December SMRT breakdowns. They dug deeper to identity some root causes, and they also made some recommendations.
I certainly hope all that was not for show only and that SMRT, as well as SBS Transit which operates other lines, learn from these incidents and implement changes that improves the reliability and safety of our train system.
That’s what’s supposed to happen, anyway, after an air accident investigation agency submits their report on an air crash or other sort of air accident.
For our SMRT saga, I hope they also go beyond just fixing train and track faults. Don’t forget about the train station itself. I say this half in jest because yesterday there was a power blackout in City Hall station. The stations are part and parcel of riding on the train.
One of the COI’s recommendation is for SMRT to refocus on being an engineering and operations company. I think this is an important point. Under the previous leadership, SMRT appears to have lost sight of its core business. SMRT’s main business is transportation.
Where SMRT’s rail division is concerned, running an efficient, reliable, safe and dependable mass transit rail must be its primary business. There is no way they would compromise on maintenance, forgo good competent engineering staff, or simply fail to deliver the best rail service they can had they not lost sight of their core business of being a rail operator.
LTA’s a little unlucky to be caught up in the fiasco. They should have been just a regulator. But they got their fingers burnt because, well, they got involved in the MRT development. They designed and built the infrastructure. So now it becomes quite inevitable that they are partially held responsible for a defective design.
Are we ready to move on?