SMRT - One of the Top Players in Public Transport and Railways

Singapore has the best-in-class public transport system. A report by McKinsey revealed that Singapore has one of the most affordable, efficient, sustainable, and convenient public transport systems in the world. Millions of commuters make daily journeys using Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), buses, and taxis. MRT is the major form of transportation in Singapore. MRT has more than 130 stations across five lines and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) with 40 stations across two lines. SMRT Corporation and SBS Transit are two operators of MRT and LRT. The bus transportation system is operated by four companies including SMRT and there are 7 taxi operators.

The high demand for public transport shows that people prefer to travel using trains, buses, and taxis. Singapore’s major operators have worked together and made public transport journeys seamless and convenient with accessible services, competitive journey time, and affordable fares.

Contrive Datum Insights conducted a study - named the Global Public Transport and Railways Market Analysis Report - of the public transportation systems of North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa (MEA). The major players of heavy rail, light rail, buses, and trolley cars are SMRT Corp, SBS Transit, Prasarana Malaysia Berhad, Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB), and MRT Corp.

How SMRT become the top player in the public transportation system?

Here are the measures taken by SMRT that have helped the company to improve train, bus, and taxi operations and provide comfortable and safer journeys to Singaporeans.

1. SMRT is working with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in the renewal and improvement of the North South and East West Lines (NSEWL) power supply system. They have laid fibre optic cables along the tunnels to transmit monitoring information in real-time to the Operations Control Centre. It has also installed Voltage Limiting Devices (VLDs) and completed the re-signalling project in 2019. The NSEWL network is now operating with the Communications-Based Train Control signalling system.

2. SMRT has added 57 new trains to Bishan and Tuas Depots. It signed a 10-year contract with Bombardier for maintenance work and spare parts support. Bombardier Transport also supplied 66 new trains.

3. SMRT’s Engineering Group focuses on improving the performance of SMRT Trains. The group is working on the Mobile Operation and Maintenance System (MOMS) that provides easy access to critical maintenance data to teams working in different locations, depots, stations, viaducts, or tunnels. SMRT’s Predictive Decision Support System (PDSS) houses the Permanent Way (PWay) asset design, maintenance, and condition data. Track Access Management System (TAMS) manages and optimises track booking and control processes.

4. SMRT is continuously investing in upskilling and reskilling of its staff. The operator has partnered with institutes and universities to design programmes aimed at improving the basic maintenance skills of technical staff, increase knowledge, and improve the productivity of the staff. This helps to provide better transport services to commuters as the SMRT employees know how to perform their tasks more effectively and efficiently.

5. SMRT supports LTA’s vision of building an inclusive transport system. It has added greener public bus fleets to reduce carbon footprint, uses SMART Traffic Management System at Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub, and has Singapore Bus Training and Evaluation Centre.

6. The taxi division of SMRT is working on new ways to improve passengers’ experience and safety. It provides Toyota Prius taxis equipped with the Advanced Driving Assist System (ADAS). Soon it will move from the current 100% cleaner, hybrid standard taxi fleet to Electric Vehicle (EV) models.

7. Apart from the above-mentioned measures, SMRT is investing in technologies to drive high safety performance, improve security and risk structure, and build a sustainable workforce.

“Rail travel is the backbone of the Singapore public transport system. SMRT will continue to play our part in its growth and performance by building competencies and a culture of service excellence,” SMRT CEO, Neo Kian Hong commented on the company’s role in the country’s public transportation system.
Seah Moon Ming, SMRT Chairman, stated, “We have been proactively engaging our commuters & stakeholders, and enhancing our services to provide safe, reliable and comfortable journeys to all, including those with special needs.”

With the use of innovative technology, planned policies by the government, and top-class services by transport operators like SMRT have made public transport systems the first choice among commuters. SMRT’s focus on reliability, sustainability, and continuous improvement has helped it to become the top player in the public transport sector.

About the Author
Sheo-un Lee
Sheo-un is a senior transportation planning manager at a Germany-based company. He is responsible for establishing standards of overall operation, productivity, efficiency, quality, and safety of train technologies. He shares his reviews and insights on public transportation in different countries through his articles. He enjoys painting in his free time.

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