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LTA-SBST Joint Team Update

19 Feb 2013

Below is a synopsis of Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew’s doorstop interview with the media on 15 February 2013.

The LTA-SBST Joint Team Team updated me that they have identified the main cause of the train disruptions on the North East Line (NEL) last year to be stress corrosion cracking (SCC). What they have done is change out the Balance Weight Anchor (BWA) wires and U-Bolts – both made of stainless steel - and stepped up their checks. They will also study over the longer term what material should be used when the wires are next changed. The Joint Team is also looking into formulating plans to improve the reliability of the NEL in the longer term. Today, the reliability is about 0.7 train withdrawals per 100,000 km. I think we can do better and SBST has also taken very positive steps such as a planned increased in headcount for the North East Line and the LRT to about 25% this year end, and a relook at their maintenance philosophy and regime which will give them a better sense of the current condition on the network itself.

On fares, Mr Richard Magnus, Chairman of the Fare Review Mechanism Committee (FRMC) has shared with me that a key concern gathered during the course of the FRMC’s consultation with the general public and commuters was the issue of fare affordability. While fares have generally become more affordable over the years - cumulatively 0.3% over the last five or six years - there are groups of commuters who do need help. I have therefore asked the Committee to review the existing public transport concession schemes and propose improvements or new schemes so as to benefit a wider group of commuters, especially the more vulnerable groups such as the lower-income and persons with disabilities. The FRMC will need a little time to complete this additional work and thus, the FRMC report will be released around the middle of this year.