Train service between Tanah Merah and Pasir Ris was broken this morning due to the break down of the maintenance work train. Commuters were unable to carry on beyond Tanah Merah MRT station and feeder services were available to ferry passengers stuck at the station to other stations. Taxis were also not available as most of them were full.

This puzzled me a little. Since most cabs are fitted with GPS that supposedly integrates with their radio system, would it really be that difficult for the operators to broadcast messages to let the cab drivers know of the break down and for them to be channeled to the affected stations? I mean… I have seen messages like "Reported lost luggage on taxi from Woodlands to Changi Airport" or "Heavy jam on CTE/SLE" and even "Traffic Police ops along Queenstown" appear on the touch panel – so what’s so difficult about alerting the cab drivers of train disruption services so that they may be channeled there?

Either there was literally a media blackout (for what?!) or the cab operators were waiting for people to call in for a cab, and I thought we had a world-class transport system. Wait – surely the cab drivers who picked up complaining passengers would know, wouldn’t they?

SOME 57,000 were stranded when MRT train services on the East-West line between Pasir Ris and Tanah Merah stations were disrupted on Monday morning.

There was no train service from 5.39 am till 12.45 pm between the two stations. Normal service resumed after that.

The disruption was caused by the breakdown of a maintenance work train which was carrying out works between Tampines and Simei (westbound) MRT stations, said SMRT in a statement on Monday.

‘There were some damages to the maintenance works train and we are investigating the cause,’ said SMRT, the train operator.

During the breakdown, eastbound trains were turned around at Tanah Merah MRT station.

Buses were deployed to ferry stranded passengers between the two stations, with the first arriving at Tanah Merah MRT station at 5.48 am.

Forty SMRT buses and 30 Singapore Bus Service Transport buses were sent to Pasir, Ris, Tampines, Simei and Tanah Merah stations to pick up the commuters.

The disruption also affected west-bound shuttle trains serving Tampines, Simei and Tanah Merah MRT stations from 8.28 am.

They were running at 28-minute intervals to ease passenger flow at Tampines and Simei MRT stations.

SMRT said passengers were informed of the service disruption and the free bus bridging services through train and station announcements, notices and rail travel information system in the stations and broadcast channels.

Many passengers also had difficulty getting taxis as most of them were occupied.

SMRT said passengers who were unable to complete their journey due to the disruption can claim a full fare refund from the Passenger Service Centre at any of the 51 SMRT stations within the next three working days, from Monday to Thursday.

SMRT has apologised for the inconvenience caused.

Article obtained from on 21st January 2008

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