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SINGAPORE: Singapore’s metro system has been plagued by outdated equipment and poor maintenance for years, according to a high-level inquiry that criticised the network’s operator for chasing profits.
A panel assigned to look into two breakdowns in December last year, one of which left thousands trapped for hours underground, criticised management for rushing to resume services without adequately addressing underlying problems.
The Committee of Inquiry (COI) findings, issued late Wednesday, also said publicly listed operator SMRT did not have enough engineers capable of overseeing maintenance.
“At face value, the preventive maintenance regime appeared to be robust.
The schedule for most preventive maintenance activities exceeded manufacturers’ recommendations,” the report said.
“Yet, there appeared to be a gaping disconnect between what was formally on record and what was happening on the ground,” it added.
“The COI finds the work procedures and control mechanisms of the maintenance branches to be grossly inadequate.” In December, a seven-hour breakdown affected more than 127,000 commuters, including thousands trapped in trains stalled underground after a power fault hit the SMRT network’s North-South line during the evening rush hour.
It was the worst incident in the metro system’s 24-year history, and has since been followed by several more breakdowns, including disruptions on a brand-new section that cost billions of dollars to build.
The SMRT management, which expanded retail operations at major stations in recent years, was criticised for its emphasis on resuming services after the December breakdowns, rather than addressing the problems thoroughly.
“The focus was to ensure continued revenue service,” the report said. -- AFP