Transport Minister sorry for ‘rough and stressful’ night without rail service


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Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung apologized last night for the rough time Singaporeans had after services broke down across three major rail lines.
Hundreds of commuters had to reroute after trains stopped working along the North-South, East-West, and Circle lines for nearly four hours from 7pm due to a power failure. More than 30 stations could not operate. All services have since restored and commuters are able to journey to work smoothly this morning.
“Has been a rough and stressful evening for many commuters. We are sorry for the disruption and all the troubles caused,” Ong wrote online late last night.
More than 100 free bus services were deployed to help commuters home, according to Ong. A total of 400 staff members were also on the ground to help those stranded.
Three power outages occurred yesterday, according to train operator SMRT. A power fault was detected between Woodlands and Jurong East stations along the North-South Line, another between the East-West Line’s Tuas Link and Queenstown stations, and a third between the Serangoon and Harbourfront stations along the Circle Line. The outages caused blackouts at some stations.
Videos posted online showed crowds of commuters at dimly lit stations and people swarming toward the free buses. Commuters onboard trains that broke down had to walk onto the tracks to reach the nearest stations.
All lines were restored by 10:34pm, according to Ong, who was transferred education to transportation after the recent elections. He said that system engineers had worked overnight to rectify the problems.
Train breakdowns are common in Singapore, but a disruption of this scale has not happened in many months, not since people started working from home due to the pandemic.
This is also the first time in years that Singapore is hearing an official apology from its top transport official over such a disruption.
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