Taming the Inconvenienced Mob

It is about time SMRT thought about partial train closures. These operations will inevitably inconvenience many commuters and cause a good amount of grief, but they are a necessary step a system that is 30 years old needs.

For those of us who are still going on about how maintenance should have been done more comprehensively in years past, well, can’t turn back the clock now can you? So if it’s a blame game you want to play, go right ahead, but those comments will effectively amount to nothing now. At this point, as with any other point in time, we can look both forward and back, but only one way is most productive.

SMRT needs to think, and think hard, on how to make the partial maintenance closures as unobtrusive a possible. A partial closure is no trivial operation. It is a big project with many moving parts. To expect it to proceed without a hitch is ill-advised. This time, the words “Sorry for the inconvenience” must amount to more than just a pleasantry.

A letter sent in by a Today reader Ronald Chan (Temporary MRT closures the right way to go, 17 April 2012) has some instructions on how to tame the inconvenienced mob:

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Thank you, SMRT technicians

For at least 2 decades, Singapore’s trains served us faithfully. Arriving within minutes of each other, almost always on schedule. Ferrying us to work and back home, to nightspots, to school, hungover. It does not make the problem less serious or give those affected their time back, but I hope it gives some sense of scale.

A pat on the back to the men and women who were activated to remedy the hiccups. You are some of the world’s most efficient people. Fixing a large problem like that could not have been easy, and with such speed!

(Of the bureaucrats who run the organisation, one can only wish to say the same.)

Here’s a thank you from a Singaporean. Hope it makes it through all the grousing.