Singapore Tuesday said it was imposing the maximum fine of Sg$2 million ($1.58 million) on train operator SMRT for shoddy upkeep of its metro service which caused two major breakdowns last year.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said in a press release on its website that the December service disruptions, which trapped thousands underground for hours, “were preventable” had SMRT done its job properly.
“The LTA will impose the maximum financial penalty of Sg$2 million on SMRT for the two disruptions to train services along the North-South Line on 15 and 17 December 2011,” the release read.
“It has failed, among other things, to exercise due diligence and vigilance expected of a public transport operator, and to maintain its network in good and efficient working condition.
“LTA has also assessed that there were overall shortcomings in SMRT’s maintenance and monitoring regime.”
A panel commissioned to investigate the breakdowns had earlier in July criticised SMRT for prioritising resumption of revenue service over addressing underlying problems which caused the two breakdowns.
It also concluded that SMRT’s metro system had been plagued by outdated equipment and poor maintenance for years, and that the company did not have enough engineers capable of overseeing maintenance.
SMRT said in an email response to LTA’s fine that it was improving its subway services.
“The ensuing investigations into the incidents have provided SMRT with valuable insights into enhancements needed in our previous maintenance regime,” the email stated.
“Since the incidents, SMRT has been implementing various initiatives to prevent recurrence and improve service reliability and incident response in collaboration with LTA.
“SMRT will carry out further improvements and work closely with the LTA to enhance our reliability and service levels for the benefit of our commuters.”