Our rail networks are very costly, multi-billion-dollar assets. We have spent some $14 billion in public transport in the past five years alone, and will spend another $26 billion over the next five years as we look to double our network by 2030. But these are not our most precious.
Our most precious are our engineers, mechanics, and maintenance crew who toil day and night to ensure that these assets, trains, tracks, and electrical systems are in good serviceable condition, so that trains can run reliably and on schedule, and commuters are not inconvenienced. They deserve our tender loving care, and in turn, they look after the assets with similar passion.
That is why my first of many visits to SMRT and SBST over the next few days, will be to the maintenance crew, at their depots and their workshops. I hope to know them well, understand their concerns, and their aspirations. Over time, I hope they will accept me as their friend.
As hospital CEO, I must have spent thousands of hours getting to know our nurses, our attendants, our paramedics. Occasionally, I got gems of advice and suggestions, and which I promptly implemented to better our patient-care service. And they remain my friends even though I have left the hospitals long ago.
I look forward to a similar working and social relationship with the crew of our rail operators.