Following a spate of breakdowns throughout 2017, the nadir for SMRT was the evening of Oct 7. That night, the Bishan MRT tunnel flooded and a bad year for the train operator turned into a catastrophe. More than 200,000 travellers were affected for 20 hours. Recriminations followed and it was clear that something more than corrective adjustments was required.
By December 2017, community satisfaction with public transport in Singapore had plummeted to 67%, down 18% from its previous peak.
But 2018 was a different story. With SMRT Chairman Seah Moon Ming making the decision to dedicate his efforts full time and to get ‘hands on’ in January 2018 and the appointment of new CEO, Neo Kian Hong in August 2018, public confidence has slowly been restored.
By the end of 2018, the Government was able to report that SMRT’s reliability has increased threefold since 2017. In our latest Government Satisfaction Index, public transport now scores 87% satisfaction, a record high in our Index. By any measure this is an amazing turnaround in the space of a year.