On his first day at work today, SMRT’s new President & CEO, Desmond Kuek, hit the ground running. The 49-year-old former Permanent Secretary and Chief of Defence Force launched into his new job where he felt it mattered most -the people.He spent the day at the stations and in trains and buses, meeting with management staff and station crew, as well as engaging commuters along the way.
His day started at 7.45 am, when he stood shoulder to shoulder with the morning rush hour crowd as he rode an SMRT train along the Circle Line toBishan station.At the station, he met with train staff and service ambassadors, and chatted with commuters who were queuing patiently for the next train.
He then boarded a train on the North-South Line to Choa Chu Kang station to watch staff in the Passenger Service Centre assist commuters.
There, he spoke to tenants and customers at Choa Chu Kang Xchange to get their feedback on the amenities and retail services provided by SMRT for the convenience of commuters.
The morning ended at Choa Chu Kang businterchange where he spoke to bus service leaders and interchange staff, thanking them for their work and reminding them that they play an important part in the company’s commitment to provide a superior public transport service.
He arrived later that morning at SMRT’s head office in North Bridge Road for a series of meetings with senior management staff, before addressing company executives in a town hall session that afternoon.
The following day will see him on a scheduled visit after midnight to jointechnical staff involved in changing out worn-out sleepers on the train track.
To run up to speed, the new CEO had earlier made several trips to depots and other offices to better understand the company’s operations, as well as meet the manypeople who keep things running behind the scene. He believes that the people in SMRT are key to its commitment to quality and excellence.
Desmond Kuek acknowledged that the company faces challenges such as an aging rail infrastructure, increasing ridership, and also staff morale that has been hurt by the difficulties in the past year, after the Dec 2011 disruptions.But he was quick to point out there were also many exciting opportunities for SMRT.
In outlining his priorities, he said: “What is certain is that we are first and foremost a public transport operator. This is the core business that we are responsible for and must excel in.My emphasis going forward is to strengthen our operations, engineering and maintenance capabilities; build up our capacity for organisational growth; and instil a strong customer service and safety culture in all our people.
We will work closely with our stakeholders –including LTA and the general commuting public -to ensure a reliable, efficient and safe transport system that enhances the quality of every commuter’s experience.”
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SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT) is Singapore’s premier multi-modal public transport operator. SMRT serves millions of passengers daily by offering a safe, reliable and comprehensive transport network that consists of an extensive MRT and light rail system which connects seamlessly with its island-wide bus and taxi operations. SMRT also markets and leases the commercial and media spaces within its transport network, and offers engineering consultancy and project management as well as operations and maintenance services, locally and internationally.