Sunday, June 01, 2008

SMRT Finally Replied After 6 Days

On 25th May Sunday, I emailed SMRT to clarify how train fare is calculated. In the email, I questioned why it is more expensive for journeys of fewer stops. After having waited for 3 working days without a reply, I decided to forward the same email to LTA. LTA replied me the very next day saying the ball should be on SMRT side and SMRT is to reply me. LTA can only forward my email to them. On the 4th day, I re-send same email to SMRT again hoping for a reply.

After a long 6 days of waiting, SMRT finally replied me and I quote them below:

"Thank you for your email.

Basically, train fare is calculated based on the distance travelled, not by number of stations.

We will revert to you again with more information."

I replied them almost immediately with the below:

"Your reply telling me train fare is calculated based on distance travelled has really left me even more puzzled. What I know is I need an additional 20 minutes of travelling time when travelling between Ang Mo Kio and Buona Vista as compared to Admiralty and Buona Vista. However, Admiralty to Buona Vista is more expensive than the former.

I shall await your detailed explanation on train fare calculation."

I wonder how much longer will I have to wait for a reply this time round. It seems SMRT replied my email only after LTA forwarded my email to them. Is it because LTA carries more weight than a mere commuter?

My email to them
http://hongjun.blogspot.com/2008/05/smrt-train-fair-structure-leaves-me.html

8 comments:

  1. I believe the MRT fare is based on basic + distance traveled related fare.

    If there are 2 routes going to the same place, it will pick the shortest route as the train fare.

    From Ang Mo Kio to Buona Vista, there are 2 ways, one via Woodlands and Jurong East, another via Raffles Place.

    The route via Raffles Place is shorter but takes a longer time than via Woodlands and Jurong East, as there are more stations along the via Raffles Place Route.

    So the train route via Raffles Place is shorter, hence the fare.

    From Admiralty to Buona Vista, there are 2 ways, same as above, but the shorter and cheaper route is via Woodlands and Jurong East.
    Hence the distance from this route is longer than the route from Ang Mo Kio to Buona Vista via Raffles Place, hence it is more expensive.


    Another thing is that even SMRT, being an MRT operator for so many years, do not know about this at all. This is unacceptable.

    Questions from the public should be answered within 3 days.

    SMRT does not have a ISO 9001:2000 cert, so quality of service is another issue.

    We can cut cost and improve quality of service at the same time by adopting ISO standards and developing SOPs. With these SOPs, we can get cheaper labor but these cheaper labor must work in meeting quality standards.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Yong Kiat,

    Thanks for replying. I do have some comments on your view.

    >>If there are 2 routes going to the same place, it will pick the shortest route as the train fare.

    So I take it the shortest route is to be chosen

    >>The route via Raffles Place is shorter but takes a longer time than via Woodlands and Jurong East, as there are more stations along the via Raffles Place Route.

    I agree route via Raffles Place is shorter and have more stations, however, this route takes shorter time than via Woodlands and Jurong East.

    >>From Admiralty to Buona Vista, there are 2 ways, same as above, but the shorter and cheaper route is via Woodlands and Jurong East.
    Hence the distance from this route is longer than the route from Ang Mo Kio to Buona Vista via Raffles Place, hence it is more expensive.


    I take it you are comparing route between Admiralty via Jurong East to Buona Vista with route Ang Mo Kio via Raffles Place to Buona Vista. Are you very sure the Admiralty-Buona Vista route is shorter? I did not use geodesy to calculate distance but rather, I use travelling time to determine distance.

    Regards
    Loh Hon Chun

    ReplyDelete
  3. The one on SMRT not having ISO 9001 certification is something new to me.

    BTW, I read an article from a forum recently and found out shift workers (not sure which role) just got an increment in their shift allowance by a mere $0.50 per day. I am not sure how true is this.

    Do remember coffee used to cost $0.60 but it is now $0.90 (50% inflation).


    Regards
    Loh Hon Chun

    ReplyDelete
  4. First SMRT did not have a ISO 9000:2000 logo or mention about it in its website. Same thing goes to SBS Transit.

    Many business get the ISO certification for the following reasons:

    - To improve business processes and save money. Most companies implementing ISO 9000 certification report increases in business process efficiencies, reductions in waste, and improved product quality.
    - To qualify for new customers. Many corporations see ISO 9000 Certification as an essential requirement for conducting business with a new vendor.
    - To enter global markets. ISO 9000 standards are required in many countries.

    http://www.isixsigma.com/library/content/c000917b.asp

    If you working in a manufacturing industry, all these ISO, Six Sigma, QCC etc should be familiar to you.


    About the train fare issue, please do not use the time taken to judge the fare.

    - Each time a train stops at a station, it will stop for around 20 seconds to 1 minute, depending to how busy is the station is during different time of the day. Also the time taken for the train to accelerate and decelerate from its usual operating speed (usually 50 - 60 km/h). Time is wasted in this way.

    - There are a few long station to station distances from Ang Mo Kio to Jurong East,

    - From Yio Chu Kang to Khatib
    - From Yishun to Sembawang
    - From Kranji to Yew Tee etc

    They take more than 3 minutes train travel time from station from station but the distance may be 2 to 3 times more than the usual station to station distance.

    From Ang Mo Kio to Buona Vista, all the stations to stations, expect from Ang Mo Kio to Bishan (3 minutes), takes 2 or less minutes for the train to travel. Hence more time is wasted for station stops due to the reasons given above.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi YK,

    Once again appreciate your input. IMO, ISO certifications are no longer as tough as what it was 10 years ago.

    I attended a talk by my company on Singapore Quality Award (SQA) and in the talk, they talk on ISO 9001:2000, Singapore Quality Class (SQC), SQA, etc. According to them, the ISO 9001:2000 specifications has in fact trimed from a very thick bulky book to a quite handy to carry book. There are several sections and sub sections in the IS0 9001:2000 specification and all were required in the past. Presently, less than half are required to be presented for certification.

    I am quite surprised to know SMRT and SBS Transit are not ISO certified.

    Regarding the train fare calculation issue, your argument sounds logical but I still am waiting a reply from SMRT. They are taking their own sweet time.

    Regards
    Loh Hon Chun

    ReplyDelete
  6. I like to correct the following:

    SBS Transit did achieve the following:

    i) Singapore Quality Class
    ii) ISO 9001:2000
    iii) People Developer Standard

    http://impact-sg.jobstreet.com/templates/sbstransit/sbs_awards.htm

    As for SMRT, none of the three:

    http://www.smrt.com.sg/about_us/awards.asp

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yong Kiat,

    I contacted SMRT and they told me they are ISO 9001 certified.

    hongjun

    ReplyDelete

Do provide your constructive comment. I appreciate that.