Do you know what else you lose in a train disruption?

Do you know what else you lose in a train disruption?

Ruth Lum

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You lose your SHIT.

Singaporeans have been subjected to a series of unfortunate events this week, and the week is not even over yet.

Just yesterday, the East-West Line (EWL) faced its second disruption this week, lasting about 7 hours between 7am in the morning till 2pm in the afternoon.

Commuters faced delays of up to 40 minutes.

Massive blackout
affecting 146,500 people
EWL train disruption
caused by screen fault
EWL train disruption
caused by track fault

The internet was not spared from the thunderous ramblings of Singaporeans who took to social media to proclaim their detest for the disruptions.

(Editor’s note: Kudos to everyone behind the scenes who had to get down and dirty whether rain or shine to fix track faults. Fixing train disruption issues is one thing, but they also have to live with the scarring implications of nasty comments all over the internet)

TL;DR: Why do train disruptions piss people off so much?

Singaporeans have a low threshold for tolerating disruptions of any form

This trait has been documented way too often. We’re pampered, too used to things running smoothly, and any sort of disruption throws us off balance.

We’re often told that our infrastructure and facilities are ‘world class’ and because of the lack of perspective, our idea of ‘world class’ is warped.

You could see this as seeking perfection, but others would see this as complacency and cry-baby. Our elastic bands are stretched taut, giving way less room for any system to breakdown before we snap.


Images credit: Twitter

We get it, nobody likes to be stuck like a sardine, shoulder-to-shoulder in an MRT station waiting for a train that will never come. Yet, having our train service restored in 30 minutes could have easily taken 5 hours elsewhere in the world.

Time is money, duh

The average salary in Singapore is S$67,152. This averages out to be S$5,596 per month, inclusive of employer’s CPF contribution.

Average daily salary = $5,596 / 20 working days= $279.8

Average hourly salary = $279.8 / 8hrs= $34.975

An hour of train disruption equates to an average of $35 from your salary. Some more, some less.

Every hour you arrive late for work either results in your company having to dock from your pay, or you having to work over-time, which snowballs into bigger issues of missed family time etc. We’ve even heard of some cases where people are required to pay a dollar for every minute they arrive late at work.

Salary is but one of the many ways to calculate the monetary loss that comes with each train disruption.

People expect better service along with the rise in transport fares (and SMRT CEO’s salaries)

In 2015, SMRT chief Desmond Kuek was paid $2.25m. This amount is double what he made when he first joined the rail operator in October 2012. Earlier this month, it was announced that public transport operators may increase fares by up to 4.3%. Logically, it is expected that with more funds, transport services should see an improvement. People don’t want to be reminded often that they are paying more for ‘lousier service.’

Facebook user Faith Ng put things succinctly here:

Image source: Facebook

TL;DR? The disgruntled lot of people feel like the government has not kept its end of the bargain.


Alternative modes of transport is daylight robbery

Image credit: Twitter

’nuff said.

Opportunities lost

Say you’re on your way to an important business meeting. You’ve put on your best outfit and you’re hoping to close the deal this time.

Or, imagine you’re on the way to a promising job interview.

Train disruptions set you back by an hour. You frantically text your partners you’ll be late, and apologise profusely. You could potentially lose the business deal, or forego this valuable job opportunity.


+1 negative review on Carousell

Am I the only one who likes to kaypoh other Carousell pages for feedback drama? I think I’ve read (kaypoh-ed) enough negative reviews on Carousell to know that one top reason for negative feedback is turning up late and making the other party wait.

“Time waster, MIA on meetup”


You see the worst in people

This one’s a snowball effect. On any regular day, there is already the occasional idiot commuter who doesn’t understand the concept of queueing and pushes past you in a bid to get onto the train and chope a seat.

Image credit: Stomp

During a train disruption, it’s as if all hell breaks loose. People suddenly lose the concept of how to be civilised. They come this close to kissing the train door before it even opens… do they expect those alighting to walk right through them?! Others push left, right, center and look at you like it’s your fault.

It’s like a Singaporean version of World War Z.

All this negative energy bounces off each other and *bam*, this is the ‘WORST THING TO EVER HAPPEN IN YOUR LIFE.’

But WAIT – every cloud has a silver lining

We’re not THAT BAD. We must have been alright for Nas Daily to make so many nice videos of Singapore. Even though situations like these disruptions test our limits, there is still a vast majority, albeit resigned to their ‘fate’, who choose to be chill about things.

Guess we need more people like Twitter user Opinion Spitter who looked for the good in the bad.

We would love to hear your thoughts about this.

Have a question, ASK HERE

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About Ruth Lum
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