Commuter Complaints on SMRT Train Breakdowns

Commuter Complaints on SMRT Train Breakdowns

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In December 2011, the world-renowned SMRT train system in Singapore suffered a series of commuter disruptions that shattered public confidence in the system. SMRT Corporation Ltd. is Singapore’s multi-modal public transport operator, with train, bus and taxi services across the island. This case recounts the train breakdowns, resulting in commuter frustration and SMRT’s response. Not only does SMRT management need to restore confidence in the reliability and safety of the system, but they also need to restore good faith with the public that they are committed stewards of a public system integral to daily living.

This communications case examines credibility as the major requirement for organisational reputation, examining how different stakeholders define credibility and their resulting reputations according to their needs. An important aspect of maintaining reputation can be alertness to trends that develop from various events in the external environment. Such trends sometimes erupt into issues in the face of a crisis. The case illustrates how early issue management and effective crisis management requires both actions and communications as good-faith repair strategies.

Inspection copies and teaching notes are available for university faculty. To receive an inspection copy and teaching note, please email cmpshop@smu.edu.sg with your registered faculty email ID and a link to your contact information on the faculty directory at your university as verification. An inspection copy and teaching note will then be sent to your faculty email account.