SBS Transit to face $400,000 fine for NEL disruption

SBS Transit (SBST) will face a penalty of S$400,000 imposed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) for train service disruptions along the North East Line (NEL) on 15 March 2012.

Over 117,000 passengers were affected when train service on the NEL was disrupted in both directions between Dhoby Ghaut and HarbourFront stations for approximately ten hours.

In a media statement on Tuesday, LTA said investigations revealed that the disruption was a result of corrosion of a pair of stainless steel wires, which eventually led to its snapping.

The wires are integral in holding in place overhead power lines that provide electricity to the trains.
In addition, SBST was also found to have been late repairing tunnel leaks at the incident site. The transport operator was also faulted for not being “diligent in detecting and replacing the corroded wires”.

Under section 19 of the Rapid Transit Systems (RTS) Act, a licensed public transport operator can be fined up to $1 million per incident.

However, considering the case facts, severity of the incident, and any relevant mitigating factors, LTA has decided on a penalty amount of $400,000.

The S$400,000 fine will be donated to the Public Transport Fund to help needy families with transport fares.

Following the incident, SBST has tightened its maintenance schedule and checks. Wires have also been replaced as a precautionary measure for areas where there were previous reports of tunnel water seepages.

LTA is also currently investigating the power supply fault resulting in another train delay on the NEL last month on 17 August.

Chew Hock Yong, chief executive of LTA said: "Many commuters had expressed frustration that SBST had not sufficiently provided timely and accurate information on the travel delay… There is room for improvement in SBST's incident and public communications management, and LTA will work with them to improve this."


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