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LRT network buckling under ageing infrastructure

The number of service delays lasting more than five minutes per 100,000km increased from 1.94 last year to 2.45 and 2.52 in the first and second quarter of this year, respectively.

SINGAPORE: The Light Rail Transit (LRT) network is feeling the pressure of its ageing infrastructure and growing ridership, with more service delays of more than five minutes per 100,000km.

This is especially apparent for the 14-year-old Bukit Panjang LRT (BPLRT) network, which has long been plagued with disruptions, including one in January when services were down for almost an hour because of a power fault.

The number of service delays lasting more than five minutes per 100,000km for the whole LRT network increased from 1.94 last year to 2.45 and 2.52 in the first and second quarter of this year, respectively.

On the BPLRT, service delays for that frequency grew from 2.77 last year to 3.33 and 3.79 in the first and second quarter of this year.

The Sengkang Punggol LRT network fared better, although it still saw a slight uptick – 1.87 and 1.71 delays of over five minutes for every 100,000km in the first two quarters of the year, up from 1.37 last year.

The Land Transport Authority said this is mostly because of vehicle faults, and “no major issue(s)” were identified. The BPLRT network will see an increase in capacity soon, with 13 new trains to be progressively added to the network from the last quarter of this year.

Bukit Panjang resident and student Low Wei Xiang, 25, said journeys on the LRT can be unpleasant with inadequate air-conditioning and crowds even during off-peak periods. He prefers to catch the bus to Choa Chu Kang MRT station instead. “The bus takes a little bit longer, but I feel it’s more reliable and comfortable,” he said.

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