Saturday, 24 September 2016

Summary of article: LTA - Draft 1b

In the article “TRAINS ON THE NORTH-SOUTH AND EAST-WEST LINES SAFE FOR SERVICE”, the Land Transport Authority (LTA, 2016) wrote that the trains that have been in the media spotlight are safe for service.
According to LTA, all new trains are tested before they are put into service. For defective trains, immediate action was taken to prevent defects from resurfacing during train operation.
Hairline cracks that were discovered during inspection were confirmed to not affect operational safety. Nevertheless, to ensure that there are sufficient trains for commuters, all affected trains were sent back, one at a time, for rectification. Stringent checks would also be performed regularly to ensure operational safety of all trains. This article was written to clarify that safety was never compromised despite having defects on the trains, and what was solution to the problem.

In my opinion, the issue was handled in an organized and systematic way by the respective parties which proves their competency.
What i feel is important is how they react to the situation when an issue arise, and how the problems were approached to prevent similar happenings.

In reference to the straits times [1], Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has addressed the issue that these trains could withstand stress of more than three times the operational experience, without reducing the safety margin. This meant that commuters should feel at ease that stress tests are conducted to ensure that there are no defects. It is also known that the issue with battery housing occurred only during testing phase; hence proving that testing was effecting in finding any defects before using it. 

In addition to that, one of the key issues raised was WHY WAS THE ISSUE NOT MADE PUBLIC EARLIER?”. Response was that firstly, there were no safety issues. Secondly, the issue was accounted for by the manufacturers. Thirdly, commuters would not suffer a lack of train due to the incident, and lastly, if the problem was not dealt with pleasingly, only then would the situation be publicized. As far as the public is concerned, it is not entirely right that only the so called “major issue” would be publicised by the news. It would be better if the public knew of such issue from our own news agency instead of reading it from sources of other nation. This could create further unrest as it could suggest that there could be countless issues going on without the knowledge of the public.

In reference to Channel News Asia [2], I feel that they handled the issue professionally by taking ownership of the issue voluntarily; prolonging the warranty of the bolsters and car bodies after replacing them. This culture of taking responsibility should be commended on. In addition, it has stated that tenders were called based on excellence and price valuation.
However, there should be a limit as to how many defects were found during testing, as well as, a strong message should be conveyed that quality is vital in contesting for the tenders. An example of such would be, if a certain number of defects were found, the respective companies should be given a warning and another chance to rectify the issue, ensuring that it will not occur again. Should it happen again, the company should be barred from contesting for subsequent tenders within a given period of time. This warning will convey a strong message, stating that the tender can still go to others who can deliver a better condition of quality to price valuation, if results does not meet the requirement. This in turn would boost the competitiveness of the companies vying for the tenders; hence creating a more affordable deal.

According to straits times [3], SIM University senior lecturer Park Byung Joon said cracks on metal are not uncommon. "Many people don't realise airplanes are flying full of cracks," he said. "As long as those are properly monitored, they do not pose a safety concern."
It is true to a certain extent that only experts in the field can determine what is truly safe for operations. However, we must never take it for granted that they are always right. Questions must be raised in order for the people to clarify and understand the issue, as well as, getting simple explanations from the experts could test their knowledge; thus giving the organization a chance to gain the trust of the commuters.

In conclusion of this incident, taking responsibility of the problem should be encouraged, followed by solutions to prevent similar happenings and follow ups are mandatory.

[1] Cracks on MRT trains: Khaw addresses key issues raised (2016, Aug 17). In Straits times. Retrieved from

[2] Lessons to be learnt from defective SMRT trains incident: Khaw (2016, Aug 16). In Channel News Asia. Retrieved from

[3] Hairline cracks found on 11 Sengkang-Punggol LRT trains (2016, Sept 10). In straits times, Retrieved from



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