The past few days has been very dark for SMRT in it’s 24 year operating history. Trains breaking down 3 times in less than a week. While a lot have been said about the way SMRT handled this crisis, I think we must look at why this problem happened in the very first place.
I was never a fan of Ms Saw Phaik Hwa, CEO of SMRT. If you have been reading my blog, I have been very critical of her. Especially the way she handled the 2 train depot break ins. With every mistake that SMRT makes, the calls for her head to roll gets louder.
Let’s put it this way. Ms Saw has forgotten the very core of SMRT. Which is to provide and serve Singaporeans with trains as a form of transportation. 61 rail defects and 13 defective trains is just totally unacceptable. How an organisation behaves, it’s a reflection on what it’s CEO is doing. The past few years, SMRT has been solely concentrating on building the Circle Line and building Xchanges after another, in line with Ms Saw’s vision of making MRT stations a ‘lifestyle hub’. Which is also why the complacency on the maintenance of trains and rails must be placed squarely on Ms Saw’s shoulders. Safety, has also been comprised. For a transport operator, that is the most serious sin of all.
If you ever wondered where all the money from the fare increase went, now you know it went to all the ‘lifestyle hubs’.
That is why I’m calling for a change of leadership at the top of SMRT. It needs a leader that puts commuters first before making money. Honestly, Singaporeans don’t need Xchanges or ‘lifestyle hubs’ at MRT stations. All we need is a safe mode of transport home after a hard day of work.
While I thank Ms Saw for transforming SMRT in to one of the world’s best transport operators, she has lost sight of the goal. Which is why, she should not overstay her welcome and resign now.