19,000 commuters affected by North-South Line disruption during morning rush

Commuters at the Khatib station wait for their ride on 20 January 2014.

About 19,000 commuters heading to work on Monday morning were hit by a 90-minute disruption along SMRT's North-South Line between Sembawang to Marina Bay stations.

SMRT Vice-President of rail operations Alvin Kek told local media that a signal fault detected at 8:10am caused a southbound train to stall about 500 metres from Ang Mo Kio station.

SMRT deployed a 12-car rescue operation to push the stalled train into Ang Mo Kio station. This took almost 45 minutes and the stalled train -- with 1,800 passengers onboard -- arrived at Ang Mo Kio station at about 8.54am.



At the same time, the rail operator said free bus and shuttle services were deployed between Woodlands and Bishan MRT stations from about 8.30am to 9.40am.

At 9:43am, SMRT said all train services between Sembawang and Marina Bay stations had started again, and that free bus and shuttle services had ceased.

SMRT apologised for the delay caused to commuters and said they are further investigating the cause of the fault.

Affected passengers took to social media to complain about the service disruption, with some reporting up to 45-minute delays in their journeys.

On a comment on SMRT's Facebook page, Cheng ChuYin said, "I am disappointed with SMRT once again. The long queue began at Khatib MRT station since 7.50am and now we are stuck in a train for more than 30mins. We are only notified of train fault at AMK station at 8.30am! This is not helping with the thousands of commuters standing for past 30 mins! Please kindly refund our fare and assist us further! Everyone is late for school and work!"

Another Facebook user,

Teh ZY, said, "Can you imagine a crowded train full of standing passengers and they are forced to stand for more than 20mins? I even saw a female passenger almost fainted because of standing too long."

Following the train fault, several commuters questioned the Public Transport Council's approval last week of bus and train card fare increases of between two to six centavos from April this year.

SMRT has welcomed the PTC's decision, saying that it "made an attempt to achieve a balance between public affordability and the increased level of operational costs associated with the delivery of a safe, reliable and commuter-centric transport system".