Wonder if analysts will be building into their models, the assumption that SMRT chief executive Saw Phaik Hwa will continue making stupid remarks that upset commuters, thereby making it harder for SMRT (and Delgro) to get their desired fare rises? Will they also make the assumption that such gaffes reflect her inability to manage a public transport company?
In a recent ST report, the SMRT CEO commented that the MRT system is “still reliable compared with other systems” and “I don’t see anything significant” in the number of disruptions and delays.
She attributed the train breakdowns to higher service frequency, new trains that “need to break in”, and more rainy days in Singapore. She cites the newly installed platform screen doors at surface stations, which need to synchronise with train doors, as another factor in train disruptions.
Maybe by M’sian Chinese standards (she refuses to become a citizen, preferring to be a PR), comparisons with third world cities and even NY, London and Tokyo are in order. But she should not forget that she is the CEO of a transport company in a city that has aspirations to be a leading edge global city. If our ministers can set the global bench-mark paywise, SIA for premier service or or our local banks for solid balance sheets, why can’t she set the global city benchmark disruption-wise when it comes to MRT systems?
Her other verbal gaffes: The SMRT chief had annoyed commuters last year when
– the issue of overcrowding was raised, “People can board the train, it is whether they choose to”; and
– she told commuters that they had a role in ensuring that trains were properly secured when there was a break-in at a train depot. She want us to volunteer to guard her train carriages.