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  • Transport in the News

  • The Straits Times - 26 Oct 2015

    Khaw: Not sexy? Rail maintenance critical (PDF File) - 183kb

    Maintenance is "critical work" that keeps the rail network going, Minister wrote in a blog post yesterday (25 Oct). Titled “Maintenance isn't sexy”, the blog post spelt out the work done by maintenance staff after train services end at night. Minister wrote: "No one appreciates it until something goes wrong. Sexy or not, maintenance is the most valuable work we need to do well, to keep a complex system humming.” Minister added that more skilled manpower will be needed for the rail industry as the rail network grows, with more trains and trips are being run. Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction. 

    The Straits Times - 16 Oct 2015

    Rail lines to be 'delinked' in disruptions (PDF File) - 337kb

    To avoid a repeat of the network-wide rail disruption on 7 July, the electrical connections between the NSEWL will be “delinked” when the need arises. This means that the electrical supply between the two major rail lines can be disconnected if one line is down, allowing the other to continue functioning as normal. LTA and SMRT will be installing electrical breaks at two MRT interchange stations - Jurong East and Raffles Place - wrote Minister in a blog post yesterday. In a reply to questions from ST, LTA said delinking the two rail lines involves cutting the running rail and putting in bonded insulated rail joints at the point of disconnection. “When a rail incident occurs and there is a need to delink the two rail lines, SMRT staff can disconnect the cables and operate each line separately,” LTA added. Assistant Professor Raymond Ong Ghim Ping from NUS, said the move limits the impact of a breakdown. “Users can hence expect a shorter delay when the efforts to delink the system are completed,” he added. “Such delinking efforts will incur cost, but it is a worthwhile investment where system resiliency can be significantly improved.” Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction. 

    The Business Times - 13 Oct 2015

    Rail operators told to run collective train breakdown exercise (PDF File) - 258kb

    Minister has directed LTA to conduct a joint exercise with rail operators SMRT and SBST this month, to test the enhanced contingency plans put in place following the unprecedented disruption on 7 July. In his latest blog post yesterday (12 October), he stressed the need for both operators to walk through specific contingency plans related to every MRT station, and added that the top management should be present at such exercises. Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.  

    The Straits Times - 10 Oct 2015

    Khaw stresses need to ramp up investment in rail maintenance (PDF File) - 312kb

    Minister emphasised the need to ramp up investment in rail maintenance and recruit more skilled workers to match the reliability standards of Hong Kong's metro system. In a blog post, he noted that while the situation in Singapore has improved in recent years, it is “still not good enough”. He said he had asked PUB chairman Tan Gee Paw to be his “Adviser on Rail Transformation”. UniSIM Adjunct Associate Professor Park Byung Joon said the MTR is older than the MRT, yet it is more reliable. “My personal opinion is that the MRT Corporation has mindset geared towards achieving engineering excellence. When it comes to maintenance, it's not just about implementing guidelines and checklists, but making sure every employee takes it to heart,” he said. Communications executive Brandon Tan, 35, who visits Hong Kong about three times a year for leisure, said: “The MTR is definitely reliable - trains arrive on the dot according to schedule. I feel like when I travel on our MRT, I have to cater for some buffer time in case the trains run slower.” Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction. 

    The Business Times - 10 Oct 2015

    Khaw ropes in water agency chief as adviser on 'rail transformation' (PDF File) - 71kb

    Minister Khaw Boon Wan said he had asked PUB chairman Tan Gee Paw to be his “Adviser on Rail Transformation”.  Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.  

    The Business Times - 08 Oct 2015

    Request for info launched for KL-S'pore High-Speed Rail project (PDF File) - 548kb

    Singapore and Malaysia have issued a request for information (RFI) in the next stage of the high-speed rail (HSR) project, to gauge interest levels and gather industry opinion on the commercial and technical aspects of the project. "The feedback received will inform the ongoing bilateral discussions and formal tender process subsequently," said LTA and Malaysia's Land Public Transport Commission. The RFI exercise is expected to finish by the end of this year. In a blog post, Minister said the joint project is "still on track" but pointed out that challenges remain. Noting that there are many examples of countries that have failed in their HSR aspirations, or whose HSRs have run into serious financial problems, Minister said this was due to a "gulf" between the countries' ambitions and the market realities. He called the RFI a necessary “building block”, saying the project must meet the market test for it to be sustainable and exemplary. Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.  

    The Straits Times - 05 Oct 2015

    'Framework needed' for third-party taxi apps (PDF File) - 370kb

    In response to a blog post by Minister, in which he said he had tasked SMS Ng to study if private-hire drivers had an unfair advantage over taxi drivers, National Taxi Association (NTA) executive adviser Ang Hin Kee said he hoped to see a set of operating procedures or a framework that governs how third-party taxi-booking apps and their private-hire drivers operate, to level the playing field between them and taxi drivers. While LTA is studying whether to make private-hire drivers get vocational licences, Mr Ang noted that this might not be the eventual decision taken by the Government, and that the solution could instead come from “a package of policies”. He added, “We've already assembled some information and comments from taxi drivers, so the first thing to do is try and organise a dialogue with Mr Ng and share with him the concerns that have been raised.” In a statement, Uber said it was looking forward to continuing its ongoing dialogue with the Government. "Uber has helped thousands of Singaporeans... become thriving driver entrepreneurs using our platform," it added. Taxi driver Jaya Ananda pointed out that private-hire drivers are not subject to the same requirements as cabbies, adding that the taxi industry should remain a protected one for Singaporeans. Uber drivers said it would be unfair if they were regulated as they were not strictly offering a taxi service. "If we have to get vocational licences, but they allow us to pick up street hires - then I think it would be fair," said Ken Wong. Another Uber driver S.K. Low said he did not think there was a "conflict of interest between Uber services and taxis", adding that if anything, the Government could study how to make pricing more even. Meanwhile, consumers cautioned against a heavy-handed approach, with many saying online that these third-party apps should not be unfairly penalised. "If people are going to Uber, it means that the Uber business model is better. So why is the Government trying to help (the taxi operators) when they should be trying to improve their business model?" said financial analyst Dez Tan. Recruiter April Hoon pointed out that these apps both created jobs for drivers and provided options for commuters. NUS transport researcher Prof Lee Der Horng suggested that what is really needed is a one-stop taxi-booking platform that aggregates both third-party and taxi services.  Source:The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

    The Straits Times - 01 Oct 2015

    Mr Fix-It knuckles down to his task (PDF File) - 7mb

    Minister Khaw Boon Wan visited the SMRT Bishan depot yesterday (30 Sep) - the first of what he says will be many trips to SMRT's and SBST's depots and workshops. He intends to do this over the next few days to get to know maintenance staff and gather feedback from them, he said on his blog Moving News yesterday. Calling them “our most precious”, Minister paid tribute to the engineers, mechanics and maintenance crew, who toil day and night to ensure that trains, tracks, and electrical systems are in good serviceable condition, so that trains can run reliably and on schedule. Recounting how he spent "thousands of hours" getting to know nurses, paramedics and attendants in his past role as a hospital chief executive, thorough which he occasionally received "gems of advice and suggestions", which he in turn implemented to improve patient-care service, Minister said he looks forward to a similar working and social relationship with the crew of our rail operators. Source:The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

    The Business Times - 01 Oct 2015

    Firms invited to tap S$12m for building LNG-fuelled ships (PDF File) - 718kb

    MPA has invited companies to tap $12m set aside to support the construction of LNG-fuelled vessels, taking a step closer to the eventual launch of a liquefied natural gas bunkering pilot programme at the Singapore port in early 2017. Companies incorporated in Singapore are eligible to apply for the funding that will go towards the construction of vessels flagged under the Singapore Registry or licensed for activity in the Port of Singapore for a period of at least five years. Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

    The Business Times - 29 Sep 2015

    IMO sees 30% emission cut per ship by 2030, warns against overall cap (PDF File) - 12mb

    The head of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) said on Monday the shipping industry is on track to achieve 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions per vessel by 2030, but warned an overall emission cap on the industry would compromise the contribution shipping can make to the world economy. In support of the IMO's greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts, CE of MPA said: “Climate change is one of the most significant threats facing the world today. Singapore is committed to be an integral part of IMO's process to encourage the deployment and diffusion of environmentally-friendly ship technologies.” Source: The Business Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.

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