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I am a Practitioner of 'The 7e Way of Leaders' where a Leader will Envision, Enable (ASK for TOP D), Empower, Execute, Energize, and Evolve grounded on ETHICS!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Daily Lessons from Life 20 December 2015 - What needs to be done to ensure a smoother ride?

Just came home after the final show put up by my son  and his fellow enthusiasts of musical theatre 1st full production of 4 shows over two and a half day feeling proud of the young people and him. Our eldest daughter contributed in the back stage work as well.

Six months of hard work using personal time while balancing their day time work or study. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the high standard of performance displayed by all the cast members! Each one has done well. Kudos to them. Applause to the director, creative team and back room staff. Not forgetting the generous donors. Love and support from family, friends and colleagues. A thankless journey in a highly commercialised S'pore only the Devoted will do. Cool!!

Now for the Social Topic of:

"Singapore's train system: What needs to be done to ensure a smoother ride? - CNA 20 Dec 2015

SINGAPORE: There were seven major MRT disruptions in the first three quarters of this year, including the one in July when two major lines broke down.

While the authorities have said they are stepping up efforts to revamp the system, questions have been raised on what else needs to be done to ensure a smoother ride for Singaporeans.

Commuter Dexter Siow remembers being caught in July 7's massive train breakdown. Mr Siow is one of the 2.762 million people who take the MRT every day, up from 1.321 million since 2005.

The MRT network itself has aged. It opened in 1987, making it the second-oldest system in Southeast Asia.

Since taking on the Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Minister portfolios in October this year, Mr Khaw Boon Wan has sought to restructure the entire rail system, starting with a renewed emphasis on maintenance and engineering.

Said Mr Khaw: "The unhappiness of Singaporeans over train disruptions is a testament to the fact that we have high expectations of the engineers that build, run and maintain the MRT.

"As Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure, it is my responsibility to ensure that we continue to meet the high standards that Singaporeans expect of our infrastructure."

Authorities have also begun looking beyond Singapore for possible solutions. One ideal model is the Hong Kong MTR.

It is touted as one of the best systems in the world, with almost a 99 per cent reliability rate, or about a five-minute delay in one out of 10,000 trips.

Dr Jacob Kam, operations director at MTR Corporation (MTRC) Limited, said: "We take the ever-increasing customer expectations as our motivation to improve. When we first started 40 years ago, we were not a well-known railway. In fact, I believe it’s the continuous improvement ethos that has taken us to where we are today."

The MTRC also spent HK$6 billion (S$1.09 billion) last year on maintenance and system upgrades. These include advanced signalling systems and RFID technology.

On a yearly basis, Hong Kong MTR spends 37 per cent of its total revenue on repairing and maintenance. He also said it is able to spend more than SMRT is due to the “overall design” of Singapore's business model in the rail service.

The Hong Kong MTR runs on what experts call a "rail plus property" model, which means the MTR earns revenue not just through running the train system, but by developing property as well.

The MTR generated HK$20.1 billion in operating profits last year. Of this, only HK$7 billion came from transport operations, which is about a third of the total profits. The rest came from property and commercial businesses.

The system was originally owned by two companies - the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Corporation and the Kowloon–Canton Railway Corporation. They merged in 2007 to better utilise resources and make the system more efficient.

Singapore's MRT train lines are run by SBS Transit and SMRT. They are in turn regulated by LTA, which builds and designs the system.

Mr Khaw added: “The main thing we have to watch out for in the process is to make sure that at the end of the day, everybody is still serving the public interest. It's not really about who owns it. Whether you call it privatised and nationalised, I think it comes down to whether the system is basically well-managed, especially by the regulators.”

With rising manpower and land constraints, as well as steps by the authorities to encourage a move towards a "car lite" society, experts said a reliable MRT system will be even more important to commuters than before."

A LONG news article that I CAN summarised in 3 paras below!:

1. STOP saying we cannot copy wholesale what Hkg MTRC is doing! We KNOW THAT. We DON'T need to copy WHOLESALE. In fact, we ONLY NEED to COPY those that WORK and tried and TESTED! e.g. SPENDING 37% of total revenue on maintenance and repairs! This is OUT of TOTAL revenue that include the 'properties' part of the business!!

SMRT's insistence that the Rail System MUST be making money instead of using the PROFIT from the 'properties' part of their business, which their ex-Group CEO HAD DONE SPLENDIDLY well after she was brought in to EXPAND that part of the business, to fund the Rail System is LUDICROUS. It makes sense to some 'traditional accountants' but NOT to a public transportation company gifted with the infrastructure by the government!;

2. merging of SBS Transist and SMRT Corp is like a BIG PINK Elephant in the room that everyone can see but dare not say, or said but fell on deaf ears, as the AUTHORITIES are NOT in the mood to entertain the THOUGHT! An idea that MANY laymen had floated in public forum everywhere!! BOTH public transportation are heavily invested by Government investment companies. So, while they are PRIVATELY listed companies, MOST citizens don't really see them as PRIVATE PRIVATE! We are 10-20 years behind this 'strategy'?;

3. with Mr Gerald Ee, the ex-Chairman of PTC out of the way, a man who believes that 'public transportation is by nature NOT design for comfort UNLESS you are prepared to PAY a premium', maybe, just maybe the people responsible for improvement of our public transportation can be BOLDER and think about 'how to increase performance while reducing cost' like the multi-billion cut-throat semiconductors and high-tech industries had been facing: 'introduced the latest and the bestest chip and products' and immediately work on 'cost reduction programs'!! Of course, there are a few exceptions like Apple. But IF you ask the subcontractors for Apple, they ALL will be telling you their 'razer-thin' margin is squeezed from 'cost reduction/management'!!

So, there you have it. My 3 summarized paras on 'what NEED to happen for our Rail System to improve'! Can do? Can lah.

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