International Customer Service Survey on SMRT Train and Bus Services

SMRT’s train and bus services are part of an international customer service survey, now on from 24 April 2017 till 21 May 2017.

The online polls for the 2017 Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) are led by the CoMET and Nova, and the International Bus Benchmarking Group (IBBG) for train and bus services respectively. These surveys, which allow commuters to rate transport operators on their levels of service, provide data that show areas in which train and bus services serve commuters well and flag out areas for improvement.

These two surveys will help us better understand your satisfaction levels towards our train and bus services.

Click here to participate in IBBG CSS.

Click here to participate in to participate in CoMET Nova CSS.

Both surveys are managed by Railway and Transport Strategy Imperial College of London (RTSC).

Once the surveys are completed, RTSC will compile the data, provide them to participating metros, and present them at the CoMET and Nova meetings in the second half of 2017.

The CoMET Benchmarking Group has 17 members made up of some of the largest metros while the Nova Benchmarking Group currently has 16 members consisting of mostly medium sized or newer metros. CoMET and Nova provides a confidential forum for metros to share experiences, compare performances, and identify best practices and learn from each other.

The IBBG is a comprehensive programme benchmarking urban bus operations. The consortium is currently made up of 15 medium and large sized bus organisations in the world.

The surveys go live from Monday 24 April through Sunday 21 May 2017. Your information and responses will remain confidential and will not be used for any other purpose.

We thank you for sharing feedback via these surveys.

SMRT Mobility Features

Millions of commuters travel on our transportation network daily. Lot’s of us know the stations and interchanges so well that we breeze through them on auto-pilot, with eyes glued to our phones.  Admit it, you and I are guilty of that once in a while. We’ve walked the same route for years and it has become second nature to us.

However, for passengers with disabilities, the daily commute can be a constant challenge.

For someone on a wheelchair, something as small as the 75mm gap between the train platform and the train can be an obstacle to overcome.

There are many accessibility features on both trains and bus networks to help narrow the metaphorical gap that passengers with disabilities experience daily.


MRT Train Stations

SMRT Barrier Free Entrance

Barrier-free entrances and exits

In SMRT’s early days, passengers on wheelchairs would have trouble entering our stations as there were only staircases and escalators to reach the concourse levels. Today, all stations will have at least one entrance that passengers on wheelchairs can use.

SMRT Tactile Paving

Tactile paving

The bars and bumps on the ground are known as tactile paving. They are there for the visually impaired, forming a path leading from platform to important places in the station, such as the fare gates. Have you also noticed that the tactile paving always leads to the wider fare gate?

SMRT Larger fare gates

Wider fare gates

Wider fare gates were introduced to allow wheelchairs to pass, as well as bulky items. These gates are bidirectional, making it more convenient for the passenger as they do not need to approach a Station Staff to help them turn the gate to a certain direction.

SMRT Wheelchair entrance notice

Wheelchair indicators and wheelchair-accessible train carriages

At the platform, passengers in wheelchairs should look out for the wheelchair indicators on the platform screen door or platform floor. These indicators reflect where the wheelchair spaces are on a wheelchair-accessible train carriage. There are two such spaces per train. Some trains also have the grab bar closest to the train doors removed, allowing passengers with wheelchairs or strollers to enter the train easily.

SMRT Visual Indicator

Visual indicators

There are also visual indicators for the hearing impaired. The prominent flashing red lights above the platform screen doors indicate when the train doors are closing.


Bus Interchanges

SMRT wheelchair accessible bus boarding berth

Special boarding and alighting berths

Special boarding berths at some interchanges were modified for passengers in wheelchairs. Wheelchair bound passengers who wish to board a certain service number can state so via a console at these berths. The next bus will swing by the berth to pick them up.

SMRT Wheelchair accessible bus

Wheelchair-accessible buses

Passengers in wheelchairs indicate their intention to board a wheelchair accessible bus by pressing the blue button next to the exit doors, triggering a special alert to the Bus Captain. The Bus Captain will then deploy the ramp and help the passenger on board the bus.

SMRT Woodlands Interchange Braille Handrails

Braille guidance on handrails

At the new Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange, there are “signs” in Braille on the handrails to help the visually impaired locate waiting areas.



Woodlands Bus Interchange – New Features!

The Woodlands Bus Interchange has been serving the residents of the area since 1996. The interchange will be given a fresh breath of life as an Integrated Transport Hub, due to be ready in 2019. In the meantime, the all new Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange will be serving the residents in this area.

Read more

SMRT Buses on “Have fun with the Tans” on YouTube

YouTube Channel “Have fun with the Tans” is a series created by the Tans sharing their experiences with their son, Trevor. They go all around Singapore having all sorts of adventures. From visiting Universal Studios Singapore to checking out the Central Fire Station.

In their latest video, Trevor learns more about buses by taking a ride on SMRT Service 972 around Bukit Panjang.

In the video, Mrs Tan points out different features and rules on the ADL Enviro500 Double Decker bus such as the location of the fire extinguisher and emergency hammer.

Trevors Bus Experience Safety EquipmentShe also reminded Trevor that standing on the upper deck and stairs is not allowed, for his safety.

Trevors Bus Experience No Standing

They also brought Trevor on board Wheelchair Accessible Bus Service 922.

Trevors Bus Experience WAB

But the most important lesson is at the end of the video. Wonder what that is? Check out the full video below!

SMRT Bus Wash

Have you ever wondered when do our buses go for a “shower”?

After service hours every day, our buses get to enjoy their ‘Jacuzzi’ bath (also known as Automated Bus Wash) to ensure that their exterior surface are clean before they go to sleep.

SMRT Bus Wash Interior Wipe

Similar to a car wash, a bus enters the automated bus washing plant where the rotating brushes will spin back and forth to wash and polish the outer surface. The next morning when the buses ‘wake up’, our cleaning crew will sweep the bus interior to ensure that they are clean before they set off and pick you up!
How thorough is the wash? Are you curious? Check out the video to see how it’s done!

Exercise Greyhound – A test of emergency preparedness

At around 8:30am, 14th October, Station Manager Muhammad Fadzil bin Mahmood at Tiong Bahru Station received a phone call. He listened carefully to the other party and after hanging up, he picked up his signal set and said, “Exercise Greyhound. Due to train fault, service is not available from both Changi Airport and Pasir Ris to Joo Koon. RIMP is activated. Over.”

SMRT Assistant Station Managers setting up exercise signs at Tiong Bahru

SMRT Assistant Station Managers setting up exercise signs at Tiong Bahru

Exercise Greyhound is an annual emergency preparedness test that involves public transport operators SMRT and SBS Transit. The exercise is organised by Land Transport Authority and often presents challenging scenarios that involve both operators – Scenarios that neither operators want to see happen, but must be prepared for.

This time, Greyhound took place at Tiong Bahru, Outram and Buona Vista stations simulating the loss of service on SMRT’s East-West Line and SBST Transit’s North-East Line. Greyhound tests not only each company’s plans for service recovery but also the ability for both companies to work together.

Pulldown signs on bus services at Tiong Bahru MRT Station

Pulldown signs on free bus services at Tiong Bahru MRT Station

“Exercise Greyhound was a good experience as it puts to actual practice our emergency response plans for a major train disruption scenario. This really builds confidence and proficiency for the station staff, myself included, as this is the first time I am acting as an Incident Officer.” Said Service Operations Manager, Llewellyn Chong. Llewellyn takes care of SMRT Station Operations from Dover to Queenstown and shared that exercises are carried out regularly, albeit not all are on the same scale as Exercise Greyhound, “Some commuters are alarmed when they see the yellow signs. After we explain that services are running as normal and that we are just practicing, many say that it’s a good idea.”

Buses are activated as an alternative mode of transport when train services are affected. During disruptions, two types of bus services may be made available. Bus bridging services will mirror the affected train service route and bring commuters from train station to train station. Free bus services may also be activated. This refers free rides on the regular bus services, regardless of operator, that usually call at the designated bus stop.

SMRT bus bridging exercise

SMRT President and Group CEO Desmond Kuek, who was also on site during the exercise was pleased to see the team working well together for the exercise. “Emergency preparedness exercises such as Greyhound allow us to test our contingency plans on a regular basis with a number of agencies. At SMRT, we run similar exercises to test the readiness of operations and maintenance staff. Each staff member at each station, for instance, is tested at least once in three months. We also run exercises to test our more senior management staff, who are in charge of the Emergency Response Team, with challenging scenarios.

Today’s exercise tests SMRT’s contingency plans for service recovery, in the event of a disruption. For example, how quickly Station Staff and the Crisis Support Team members can put up directional signage at the stations and guide commuters to bus stops that support free bus services and the special trunk services.”

What happens during road closures?

During special events like National Day, roads are closed and bus services are diverted. What sort of work does the Buses Team have to do to ensure clear communications and smooth operations with the Bus Captains? Read on to find out more.







Service Controllers


Lim Gem Seng

Seated at the Bus Operation Control Centre (BOCC), the service controllers like Mr Lim Gem Seng have a complete overview of all bus services running at any one time. Should Bus Captains need assistance on the road, they can call back to BOCC and the service controllers are there to assist. It’s a two-way communication too as service controllers can also call the Bus Captains on the road when they receive information about roads that have been unexpectedly closed off due to accidents or other obstacles.

Route Controllers

Route Controller Sarojini


At the last bus stop before the diversion, Route Controllers like Sarojini inform all commuters on board about the change in bus route. This avoids surprises for commuters who may have missed the signs at the front of the bus about the diversions.

Bus Captains

Tey Tiong Siong

Tey Tiong Siong

At the interchanges, before the Bus Captains, like BC Tey Tiong Siong, head off on their route, they are reminded by their group supervisors on the road closures that they will encounter. When they are on the road, Bus Captains can also look out for the Route Controllers who are stationed at key junctions around the diverted area that will point the Bus Captain towards the correct direction.

SMRT SG50 Buses

As Singapore celebrates SG50 with the many different activities all over Singapore, SMRT will be joining in with free travel on 9 August, National Day. You won’t have to tap your EZ-Link cards at the MRT Stations’ fare gates or when you board the bus. Keep a lookout for these unique SG50 SMRT buses plying the streets of Singapore this Jubilee Weekend as well.

Read more

High Capacity Buses in SMRT

High capacity buses used by SMRT Buses can carry about 50% more passengers than our 12-metre single-deck buses. SMRT’s high capacity buses include the 0405G and MAN A24 articulated buses ( commonly known as bendy buses) as well as the Enviro500 Double-Deck bus.





Mercedes-Benz 0405G

Introduced in 1996, the MB 0405G comes in four body types.

Type: Articulated
Country: Germany
Engine/CC: OM447hA/11967 cc
Capacity: Up to 149 passengers (up to 59 seated, up to 90 standing)

Mercedes-Benz 0405G

Mercedes-Benz 0405G Hispano Citaro

Mercedes Benz 0405G Hispano Habit

Mercedes Benz 0405G Hispano Habit

Mercedes Benz 0405 Hispano Carrocera

Mercedes Benz 0405 Hispano Carrocera


Mercedes-Benz 0405G Volgren


SMRT Buses deployed a MAN A24 bus for trails in 2013.

Type: Articulated
Country: Germany
Engine/CC: MAN D 2066 LUH-33/10518 cc
Capacity: Up to 130 passengers (up to 54 seated, up to 76 standing)




Britain’s biggest bus manufacturer, ADL, will supply SMRT with new-generation double-deck buses, all of which will be delivered by end 2015.

Type: Double Deck
Country: United Kingdom
Engine/CC: Cummins ISL8.9E5340B /8849 cc
Capacity: Up to 134 passengers (up to 83 seated, up to 51 standing)




Fare Payment Evolution

Until the MRT came about, commuters paid cash fares to bus conductors when boarding a bus. This changed in 1987 when a fully automated fare collection system was implemented to handle the large volume of train passengers daily.

An integrated ticketing system was implemented in 1990 to provide a common fare payment system on both rail and bus services, which by then, had a total daily ridership of 2.6 million. The magnetic ticket, called the “farecard”, became the first major stored-value facility to be introduced in Singapore. Transit Link Pte Ltd ( TransitLink) was set up to collect and disburse fares received from passengers.

SMRT Magnetic Farecards

SMRT Magnetic Farecards

SMRT Magnetic Farecards with a wide range of designs

SMRT Magnetic Farecards with a wide range of designs

To enhance Singapore’s transport ticketing system, LTA introduced contactless smart cards as the new ticket medium. Following pilot tests in 2000 and 2001, LTA rolled out the Enhanced Integrated Fare System, using contactless smart cards known as ez-link cards, to replace in the magnetic cards. This was a significant milestone in the evolution of e-payments in public transport.

Pilot tests for contactless smart cards were conducted in 2000 and 2001

Pilot tests for contactless smart cards were conducted in 2000 and 2001

With the launch of the new ez-link card system, Transitlink was appointed to manage the sale, revaluation, replacement and refund of ez-link cards.
TransitLink, which was incorporated in Novemeber 1987, later became a subsidiary of LTA in April 2010.

ang-siew-tee SMRTAng Siew Tee, who has been with SMRT since 1992, was part of the group that tested the new ez-link system before it was implemented nation-wide. This picture was taken in City Hall MRT station. It was during the trial period when farecards were going to be replaced by ez-link cards. MRT staff were amongst the first to try out the new system.

For more videos like this, check out our YouTube page.