In the news release “Trains on the North-South and East-West Lines Safe for Service” (2016) from The Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) website, LTA announced that trains on the North-South and East-West Lines are safe. The contract was awarded to Kawasaki Heavy Industries and CSR Sifang to supply LTA with 35 trains. They were tested before they were used.
A test resulted in a case whereby the cover of the train battery housing flew open due to gas-built up and it has hence been swiftly rectified. Cracks were also found on the draughtscreen of five trains caused by errors during the installation process.
Apart from the battery and draughtscreen issues, LTA also discovered hairline cracks on 26 of the trains. After rigorous testing and assessment by LTA, the cracks which were caused by the impurity in the car-body bolster material will not have any impact on the operational safety of the trains. An “independent third-party assessor, TUV Rheinland,” agreed with LTA that the trains were able to operate safely.
LTA decided that the most practical way to rectify the defect was by substituting the whole “car-body shell”. Thus, the affected trains are being shipped back to their manufacturer for repair works gradually. Out of 26 trains, the car-bodies of five trains have been changed and the sixth one will be completed soon. In accordance with the safety guidelines, LTA and TUV Rheinland will conduct continual inspection to ensure all trains are safe for operation.
LTA/SMRT have done a great part on their behalf to show consumers their high and precise safety standards. However, in-dept research into their choice of train manufacturer have shown otherwise , hence the lack of transparency and integrity of their news release.
The news release on LTA news page informs consumers of their new trains being defective and what measures and actions were taken to assure that their safety standards are not compromised. It goes into the details of how many trains were affected and what were the problems encountered during the tests. Organisations like CSR SiFang and TUV Rheinland were also mentioned to assure consumers that relevant players in the railway/train market were tasked to relieve the impending problems faced by LTA.
LTA's news release also provided the exact number of trains with problems and detailed results of the test to assure consumers that they know what they are doing. Organisations like CSR Sifang,Kawasaki Heavy Industries and TUV Rheinland were involved in these amendments. These details have created for LTA , an imposing front that seemed reliable and meticulous in their standards for safety. Consumers would then be convinced that LTA is reliable and the safety of consumers are put into thought.
The primary reason why the news release is not transparent is because further background checks on CSR Sifang have made me doubt LTA 's credibility in picking the right manufacturer for the trains. CSR Sifang tainted records were also not published on the news release. Credible sources have shown that even China's CRC (China Railway Corporation ) have condemned their subsidiary CSR SiFang for failing to produce quality trains or "the declining quality is because of the rush to deliver the new trains." (The Independant, 2016). Other potential manufacturers were also not mentioned and this dilutes the integrity and transparency of LTA's news release.
Another reason why LTA's news release lacks transparency is because it did not inform readers of the projected completion of the trains. Only delays and time needed for the amendments were included ( LTA, 2016). Without knowing the the original projected date of completion, consumers would not know how long the manufacturing process was delayed and how severe were the delays. Hiccups as such would project LTA 's image and credibility to public as a negative one . The severity of the delays has shown that LTA is not as reliable as it has projected itself as. Dr Park Byung Joon, a senior lecturer at SIM University has mentioned that "LTA has used too much time to get the damaged trains repaired. ". A seven-year period needed to repair the train's defects "seems extremely long"(Channel News Asia, 2016). Ample time was also given to CSR SiFang by LTA to replace the damaged trains. Despite the long time frame, LTA should still adopt the "less haste more pace" approach as it would really ensure that dedicated safety checks are made to ensure the trains are fully safe before they are used. Rushing would only lead to more careless and needed hiccups in this project and LTA would instead waste more time.
In conclusion, LTA should be more transparent to consumers with their choices of train manufacturers. They should also expand their choices of train manufacturers and back track into each manufacturer's history and records. Being transparent and making the right decisions would forge a strong trust and confidence of the LTA brand in the eyes of the public.
In the news release “Trains on the North-South and East-West Lines Safe for Service” (2016) from The Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) website, LTA announced that trains on the North-South and East-West Lines are safe. The contract was awarded to Kawasaki Heavy Industri...