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Train announcements in English and Chinese only – SMRT explains

Below is the response from the SMRT to a query by’s editor-in-chief, Andrew Loh, on why announcements on trains are in English and Chinese only. Some have observed this apparent anomaly and have questioned if the other official languages, namely Malay and Tamil, would also be used in such announcements.

Here is SMRT’s reply:

Dear Mr Loh

We refer to your feedback below.

We wish to explain that we had received public feedback and suggestions to announce station names in Mandarin. Following a review, we decided to adopt passengers’ recommendations as it is a service improvement that would benefit passengers who rely on announcements during their journey.

We had also considered the need for the announcement of station names to be in four languages. During our review, it was clear to us that most station names, when pronounced in English, sound similar to that in Malay and Tamil. Stations names in Mandarin, however, sound different. Take for instance, some examples are as follows:

  1. City Hall, 政府大厦 (Zheng Fu Da Sha)
  2. Somerset, 索美塞 (Suo Mei Sai)
  3. Redhill, 红山 (Hong Shan)
  4. Lakeside, 湖畔 (Hu Pan)
  5. Pioneer, 先驱 (Xian Qu)

In this regard, the announcement of station name in Mandarin will benefit passengers who rely on announcements during their journey.

Other improvements to in-train announcements are the clarity and conciseness of the announcements.

Thank you for writing in, and we wish you a pleasant week ahead.

Yours sincerely

Lynette Sng

Customer Relations

Corporate Marketing and Communications

SMRT Corporation Ltd