New SMRT CEO so committed to his job that he gave up his car to rely on public transport daily

Neo Kian Hong is so resolute in his role as the new chief executive of SMRT that he already sold off his car to rely on public transport for his daily commute.

Which makes a lot of sense — as the guy who runs a major public transport system in Singapore, shouldn’t you actually know what it’s like being heavily reliant on the public transport system?

The new SMRT CEO informed reporters earlier today about his commitment to earn back the public’s trust in the company’s train services, which has been beleaguered with angry complaints about frequent breakdowns during rush hours, among other issues. Speaking on the sidelines of a visit to SMRT’s Bishan depot, the 54-year-old assured that SMRT will be “focused on delivering safe and reliable train services,” Channel NewsAsia reported.

But apparent sacrifices he made after getting the job could potentially win some public approval.

“I sold my car earlier on but I didn’t want to buy a new car, because it is more useful for me to take the MRT to understand the issues and take our company’s assets like our taxis and buses,” Neo said.

In addition, the former Chief of Defence Force revealed that he had his family move to a new home near Shunfu so that it’ll be easier for him to take the trains to work. Judging from the location of his new house, commuters can probably expect to see the SMRT CEO riding the Circle Line every day.

That’s great and all, but what a reminder that not all of us have the financial means to easily up and move to residences closer to MRT stations.

SMRT chairman Seah Moon Ming also vouched for Neo’s commitment to his new job, sharing with the media that the new CEO spent the last two months working to understand issues on the ground.

Even if the move to give up his car might be deemed like an engineered public stunt, it should be a considered A Good Thing — Neo’s predecessors haven’t exactly displayed as big an intention as he did to understand the needs and problems of daily public transport commuters.

Subscribe to the WTF is Up in Southeast Asia + Hong Kong podcast to get our take on the top trending news and pop culture from the region every Thursday!

Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on

Born to Kick Balls: This menswear label came out with a limited edition FC Barcelona collection and it’s actually fire (and can withstand hot temps)