MRT reliability: Disappearing statistics?


Is the rhetoric of “improved rail reliability” due to the selective disclosure of the statistics?

I refer to the article “Rail network has achieved new level of reliability: Khaw” (Straits Times, Nov 3).

It states that “Singapore’s rail network has reached a new level of reliability, said Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

At the seventh Joint Forum on Infrastructure Maintenance yesterday, he disclosed that the overall system has clocked 660,000 train-km between delays in the first three-quarters of the year.

The figure was 574,000 train-km in the first half, and 180,000 train-km for the whole of last year.

Mr Khaw noted that 660,000 train-km was “two-thirds” of his target of 1,000,000 train-km between delays by 2020.”

As to “He added that the North-East and Downtown lines operated by SBS Transit – have already crossed the 1,000,000 train-km mark.

The Circle, North-South and East-West lines – operated by SMRT – have yet to reach the target, although he was confident that these lines will reach the mark “in due course”” – isn’t this akin to selective disclosure of the statistics ‘to look good’?

Why only give the average and the best, but not the worse, such as that for the Circle, North-South and East-West lines?

Since the average for the whole system was 660,000 and the North-East and Downtown lines were more than 1,000,000 – does it mean that the breakdown of the statistics further into the Circle, North-South and East-West lines, may be much lower?

With regard to “According to Land Transport Authority figures, the LRT network also showed a marginal improvement, chalking up 80,000 car-km between delays in the first nine months – up from 77,000 car-km last year” – does it mean that the LRT is about 8 times (660,000 divided 80,000) worse than the MRT?

Also, which country in the world does not (like Singapore) give the overall statistics of the whole rail network, instead of separately into the MRT and LRT?

Come on – please tell us the average statistics for the whole rail system (MRT and LRT) too!

In respect of “The number of major delays – those lasting more than 30 minutes – has also fallen. There were six on the MRT network in the first three-quarters of the year, compared with 16 for the whole of last year.

The improvement in the LRT system was less obvious, with nine major delays versus 11 last year” – whatever happened to the statistics on delays of more than 5 minutes – disappeared?

By the way, I understand that the ‘List of MRT Breakdowns’ page on Wikipedia has also disappeared too.

Leong Sze Hian

About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.