Commuter satisfaction with public transport dips following MRT incidents: PTC survey

Commuters aboard a North-South Line train. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

The level of commuter satisfaction with Singapore’s public transport services dipped in 2017 following a number of major rail disruptions that led to greater dissatisfaction with MRT services.

Overall, commuters’ satisfaction levels dipped to 94.5 per cent in 2017 as compared with 96.4 per cent in 2016, while satisfaction levels for MRT services fell to 91.8 per cent in 2017 from 96 per cent the year before.

These figures were taken from the Public Transport Council’s (PTC) annual Public Transport Customer Satisfaction Survey (PTCSS), the results of which were released on Tuesday (13 February).

The PTC report noted that the decrease in mean satisfaction score for MRT services – the first drop after three years of improvement – was largely driven by lower scores in the areas of reliability, waiting time, comfort, travel time and service information.

It also cited incidents such as last October’s tunnel flooding between the Bishan and Braddell MRT stations, as well as the delays experienced by commuters due to the testing of the new signalling system along the North-South Line (NSL), as factors behind the lower ratings for MRT services.

“With the teething issues from re-signalling largely resolved and the implementation of extended engineering hours for the North-South and East-West Lines… commuters should experience more reliable train services soon,” said the PTC report.

It also noted that one area in which satisfaction levels with MRT services saw an increase was in terms of station accessibility. This could be due to the opening of 20 new stations along the Tuas West Extension and Downtown Line 3 in 2017, said the PTC.

Bus ratings up

Meanwhile, commuters’ satisfaction level with bus services remained at 96.7% from 2016 to 2017, while the mean satisfaction score rose from 7.6 in 2016 to 7.9 in 2017.

This was the fifth consecutive year of improvement in bus satisfaction ratings, said the PTC. The council cited the completion of the Bus Service Enhancement Programme’s implementation in 2017 and the transition to the Bus Contracting Model in 2016 as contributing factors to the rise in satisfaction levels.

“Taken together, the findings suggest that commuters now enjoy more frequent and timelier bus arrivals, enhanced bus connectivity and more comfortable rides,” said the PTC.

Over 5,000 commuters surveyed

The latest PTCSS, which has been conducted annually since 2006, obtained the views of 5,007 commuters aged 15 and above who were randomly selected and interviewed in October 2017. The survey was conducted across 22 train stations and 25 bus stations / bus stops.

Respondents were asked to provide a rating of 1 to 10 based on their level of satisfaction with eight bus and MRT service attributes in relation to their latest public transport journey. These attributes were: safety and security; waiting time; reliability; service information; bus interchange / bus stop / MRT station accessibility; comfort; travel time; and customer service.

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