With the recent maintenance works ongoing, commuters’ trust in the Bukit Panjang (BP) LRT network could perhaps be rebuilding. However, what little trust there is left in the system could be diminished when train faults on the BP LRT system left passengers stranded in the train for up to half an hour on Saturday (May 19), who eventually had to walk on the tracks to the nearest station.
Images and videos of people walking on the tracks under the drizzling rain, including a woman with a pram, circulated online. About 90 passengers from the two affected trains were safely detrained and guided to the nearest LRT station by SMRT staff.
The suspended LRT services from Choa Chu Kang to Bukit Panjang towards Senja resumed at 2.40 pm, while services towards Petir only resumed at 3.50 pm. In light of the disruption, free bridging bus services were provided in that duration.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the first train had stalled due to the dislodgement of its current collector shoes, said Ms Margaret Teo, SMRT vice-president of corporate communications, adding that SMRT is still investigating the fault with the second train.
“We are sorry this has affected your Saturday afternoon. Plans are underway to upgrade the BPLRT system to minimise the occurrence of such faults,” she said.
Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan had said on Friday (May 18) that overhauling BPLRT was the only viable option. He added that the overhaul by Bombardier – which supplied the original system – will take up to 2024.
Last year, BPLRT trains travelled an average of 53,000km before encountering a delay of more than five minutes, which pales in comparison to the Sengkang and Punggol LRT’s reliability of 115,000km before a delay.