SMRT CEO: I ‘push my way in to trains’ too

Ms Saw Phaik Hwa, CEO of SMRT Corp

In my previous post, I wondered if Ms Saw Phaik Hwa, CEO of SMRT Corp, ever took a MRT train during peak hour. Well, apparently she did.

In an interview she gave to Channel NewsAsia in respond to the uproar over the comment she made that ‘people can board train – it is whether they choose to’,  she was quoted as saying:

I am very aware it’s crowded. I take the trains all the time. I take the effort to go all the way to the northern towns to see how crowded it is during the morning peaks and I take the train with the people.
“It is crowded, but I push my way in. It is crowded, but when they are already running at 2-3 minutes (intervals), it’s the most that I can do. I cannot go faster than that without compromising safety and reliability
Noticed how many times she uses the word ‘crowded‘? And the highlighted comment which she says she ‘I push my way in‘?
I don’t know if her admission that the trains are crowded and that she is doing the same thing as her customers – pushing and squeezing in to packed trains, is music to the ears of the people her comment was directed at. I sure they are thinking: ‘Oh come on, Ms Saw, tell us something we don’t already know’.
For what it’s worth, I applaud Ms Saw for finally admitting the obvious – SMRT trains ARE crowded. But admitting the obvious isn’t what we, who take the train daily, want. What we want is a solution.
And for Pete’s sake, Ms Saw, you are the CEO. Please don’t tell us that running trains at 2-3 minutes interval is ‘the most you can do’. You are the one being paid a ridiculously high salary, so don’t expect us to fall for that line.


Filed under Singapore, SMRT

10 responses to “SMRT CEO: I ‘push my way in to trains’ too

  1. Well, she might have a point saying that trains can’t run more often or faster because of safety rules she can’t change. Maybe employers could offer more flexi time for employers, so the whole nation does not have to all rush to work at same hour? 😉 Many of my colleagues from previous office were ready to come late to work, and leave adequate time later just to avoid the crowds.

    • Ray

      Actually…AngMoGirl’s comment makes sense. I don’t have the numbers, but every system has a limit in capacity, and if it really is not safe/feasible/whatnot to increase the frequency, then short of increasing the capacity (longer trains? heh) the only other way is to reduce the demand, i.e. staggering the passenger load.

  2. I am so irrate about this issue…I reblogged your post.

  3. Disbelieving One

    I don’t really believe it when she says that she rides on the MRT all the time.

    REALLY? Just like how our ministers also live in HDB flats?

  4. fievel

    The natural outcome of our zero-feedback socio-political structure in Singapore is that we’ll eventually run into a huge ass problem, then something will happen to change the situation. Till then, all every single one of the people’s outcry is just noise and unqualified complaints to the authorities’ ears.

  5. hahaha

    She cannot directly point the finger to LTA for poor planning, cannot point to ICA for additional migrants, that’s why she only admit it is crowded and tell you it’s not because she didn’t manage the MRT well, the policies of the government made it that way!

  6. I find her statements very ambiguous. It’s not all the way up north that she boards the train but rather the halfway down where the trains get really congested. So I don’t think she really understands the shoving and not able to board the trains.


  7. Hahaha Ms Saw. All talk and no action again. We need evidences of you taking public transport with us on a daily basis to believe that. Even Apple CEO uses his own iPhone on a daily basis to understand the user’s needs. And improvements in the transportation will only happen once Ms Saw feels the pinch.

    Quoted from Straits Times,
    MS SAW Phaik Hwa, 55, was paid $1.67 million last year, including stock options, making her the highest-grossing chief executive that public transport operator SMRT Corp has ever employed.

    Question, will you still take the public transport if you make this much money every year? Or will you hire a private driver to take you to work?

  8. leon

    oh pls! Stop driving and take train to the different locations that you wanna go for 1 month! Start and end travelling during the peak hours to and fro, from home to workplace and vice versa! Experience needing to wait for 3 train before u can successfully embark to ur next destination.

    your planning is horrible. Let me relate to you what happens in jurong east station. TWO trains from EACH side (joo koon and pasir ris) has arrived and passengers have alighted. BUT the train from the middle flatform (going towards marina bay) has YET TO COME. IS THIS POOR PLANNING??? maybe you could give me a better word to describe it?! LOOK IN DEPTH into the problem rather than just giving ambiguous statements like “I take the effort to go all the way to the northern towns to see how crowded it is during the morning peaks and I take the train with the people”. Is it impossible to allow the train at the middle platform to arrive and leave FIRST before more commuters arrive?!

  9. myvoice

    its very rude to do that, right?

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