MRT. Why You So Like That?

So would SMRT CEO Saw Phaik Hwa resign if another MRT disruption happens within this week, month or quarter? Probably not. Spore does not have a culture of public remorse and political-corporate seppuku. From Orchard Rd and parts of Spore turning into Venice, to MRT trains slowing down to a halt and turning into dark packed tin cans with no air con, move along now dudes.

 

Besides, investors should beware of the mindless rabble complaints about SMRT being too profitable. It is supposed to be profitable as SMRT has obligations to its shareholders, big and small. With her touted vast experience in retail at DFS, she was brought in to make SMRT go into tenancy and retail. She made SMRT profitable so SMRT shareholders from the heartland housewife to the D9 industry mover and shaker would be wary about her leaving the helm to appease public anger. To get a rough idea, SMRT profits Q2 2011- about $7 mill revenue was earned from ads and retail each. Ridership, despite the influx of more immigrants, earned about $8 mill in comparison. Heh. Go check out the revenue from taxis and bus to get a bigger map of the routes SMRT takes to please its shareholders.

 

Back to the gripe. The 3 disruptions last week, not 1 or 2 but 3 fracking frustrating disruptions for the commuter who heeded the advice not to buy cars and rely on public transport, or were actually priced out by the high COEs, made many commuters go Hulk mode and smash MRT train windows. The MRT disruptions were on the new teething Circle and old worn NS lines. Hence, it is hard to pinpoint whether it is an issue of maintenance or not.

 

The bottom line. Disruptions would happen again and it is a matter of when. That’s life. SMRT just has to get its crowd control, apology, compensation and contingency alternative transport song and dance together to make disruptions less shitty. LTA while making disappointed clucking noises with its tongue, is rubbing its hands in glee computing the fine to be slipped under Saw Phaik Hwa’s door. SMRT was fined close to $400k in 2008 coz of a 7-hour disruption in service between Tanah Merah and Pasir Ris. One incident, 4 stations affected. This coming slap for this month’s disruption would turn Phaik Hwa’s face and butt cheeks red. BTW LTA was the one who built and leased the lines to SMRT. Just saying.

 

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