Diary (Public Blog) of A SMRT Train Officer - Alvinology

Diary (Public Blog) of A SMRT Train Officer

I am pretty sure this blog is not officially approved by the SMRT Corporate Communications department.

I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the blog author’s profession as a SMRT Train Officer, but from what I read, he seems pretty legit.

Blogging SMRT Train Officer
Blogging SMRT Train Officer

About the author, Gintai, via his own profile description:

I’m a Chinese Singaporean living in the Eastern part of Singapore. I work in SMRT as a Train Officer. I tweet on current affairs & inspirational quotes. I blog on issues or events if they interest me. I also share interesting jokes, stories, anecdotes or observations on my blog. Pls give your valuable feedback and suggestions so that I could improve on them. Thanks for visiting my blog.

The blog contains an array of interesting quotes and anecdotes. Here are some of my favourites:

Do you think that my CEO is correct to describe us as “train drivers” instead of explaining to the whole world that we should be respectably addressed as “train officers?”  Our job description on the official appointment letter states clearly that we are Train Officers. Although we are paid only peanuts at a starting salary of $1,250 we are still more than a “train driver”.  Do you term aeroplane pilots as airplane drivers? Or ship captains as ship drivers?”

We face the wrath of irate public. Some of my colleagues have avoided walking about in uniform to avoid those accusing eyes and pointing fingers. A Train Officer from AMK had his tie pulled by an angry passenger and shouted at “You MRT Stupid!”. Some declared straightaway “I drive bus NOT train when neighbours questioned about our failures and inadequacy. There are many more horror stories where we are targets of irate and irrational public! We bear the brunt.”

The basic salary for Train Officer in SMRT ranges from $1,250 to $2,250. There are 3 grades for Train Officers. I joined in 1995. I have reached the maximum basic pay of $2,250. I will not have any more salary increment unless I am promoted to Crew Manager Train (CMT) which is a supervisor post. There are 2 grades for CMT. The maximum basic salary of CMT is $2,900.”

“For instance, every December is considered super peak for OT. We may work for the full month without off days. At times, we work 18 hours – no typo error here. 9 hours per shift including 1 hour meal break. We are exempted from the 12 hour working hours limit due to “exigency” of services.”

“The worst is “crew reformation” whenever there is train service disruption due to train breakdowns or delays during morning and evening peak hours. We call it “Train Reformation” where train numbers are changed at will to comply with the 3 minute headway on the train timetable! It seems that it is a daily routine to have train and crew reformations!”

“I was a police officer for 12 years before I joined SMRT in 1995. I was also an Investigation Officer for about 4 yrs. I had 35 days of annual leave but I took at least 10 days of leave to clear my Investigation Papers. No one believes me when I tell them. I can now sleep peacefully. I can apply leave anytime without the need to check my court dates. I can make full use of my current 21 days leave. As an IO, I had a hard time clearing my leave due to the many court cases on my calendar.  In short, the best part about my Train Officer job is that I work independently on my own and earn much more than my supervisors!


  1. Reproduced from my blog under comments.
    Thank you.

    “Hi to all my fellow Singaporeans,
    To all the wonderful comments posted here I humbly and sincerely thank you for taking your time to read and comment on my blog. I am so touched by each and every single comment here. The greatest satisfaction of a blogger is getting the endorsement from netizens. I note that this post is also reproduced in hardwarezone forum – http://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/eat-drink-man-woman-16/%5Bblog%5D-confessions-smrt-train-officer-3531495.html
    Unfortunately, I am not able to access the site to say hello to all of you wonderful people there. Now that the trains are still quite messy and that we are having a crisis in the system, we, including our CEO are working round the clock to bring it back to normalcy. She virtually camps in OCC since last Thursday trying to put things right. Pls give her some time to let her sort out the problems. We seek your patience and kind understanding on this matter. Pls bear with us. As humans we are not perfect. We all make mistakes. It is how we face the problems and tackle them that matters! I shall personally reply to every comment posted here in due course. Just be merry and continue with your shopping. Don’t let this affect your festive mood and spirit! I really appreciate your support. Cheers to all!”

  2. Bro,

    I’m a Malaysian Chinese work permit holder working inside singapore and commute between SG and JB, am currently working in an office as an admin, but actually job scope is all about office boy. Salary always kena dragged…

    Enough said about my problems, I understand singaporeans have this dilemma or non satisfaction regarding the influx of foreigners into their country, I could imagine, when Indonesians came to my country, Malaysia, and speaking “accent Malay” and getting NRIC with ease, I would be horrified.

    My first job in singapore is being an auxiliary police officer and my god was the job dreadful. Yes I earn SGD2400 per month, but I have to work 18 hours per day! I do not mind the grueling long hours, but it was because the job was so monotonous. Open gate, check pass, close gate………., I wanted to go onto the streets to patrol, but my supervisor acted blur when I expressed my intention to transfer to foreign worker enforcement unit which I shall be patrolling in Serangoon area.

    In Chinese we say “got one good no two good” or should we say everything comes with a price… Yes we Malaysians can easily boost 2.53 times of our pay when we go back to Malaysia but heck, you guys can do it too. For decades, JB always have been a shopping haven for Singaporeans.

    Do not forget that while things are bloody cheap in Malaysia, we have to put up with high crime rate (even malaysian cabinet ministers house also kena broke in by armed robbers), corrupted govt (you know police like to drink kopi in malaysia, have you heard our fire fighters won’t save you unless you give money? or take away your valuables as they break into your burning house to save you?), dirty roads and so on, you singaporeans don’t have to deal with that kind of crap. You guys can come over to JB and buy a house, where can we go? Cheap is only cheap when you convert SGD into MYR. I guess that’s the purpose.

    You guys can at least know how to use a gun to protect your loved ones when war break out, we can only run and hide should some aggressors decided to attack malaysia for land and petroleum.


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