Here’s How ‘Rovers’ on Driverless MRT Trains Keep the Train Network Smoothly Operated!

Interior of an Alstom Metropolis C830C train for the Circle Line (CCL)

If you are a frequent commuter on the driverless train network, you might have noticed that even though these trains are fully automatic and *driver* less, there is still an MRT staff on board.

These MRT staff are known as ‘Rovers’. Here’s how they keep you safe and the network smoothly operated!


First Things First – Rovers?

A Rover MRT staff on board a Circle Line (CCL) train

A Rover MRT staff on board a Circle Line (CCL) train. (Photo: Baey Yam Keng/Facebook)

‘Rovers’ are known as roving staff deployed on the ground to MRT trains on driverless train lines.

In Singapore, we currently have four driverless MRT lines which are capable of fully automatic and unattended train operations; the North East Line (NEL), the Circle Line (CCL), the Downtown Line (DTL) and the newest Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL).

What Do Rovers Do?

Rover MRT staff communicating on her communication device

Rover MRT staff communicating on her walkie-talkie. (Photo: Baey Yam Keng/Facebook)

Rovers are an all-rounded, multi-functional MRT staff.

Not only do they ensure that passengers are safe on board, they also keep the Operations Control Centre (OCC) updated on any unusual situations that may prevent a smooth journey. Likewise, OCC may inform Rovers on board trains to intervene and manoeuvre the trains manually if needed.

Rovers also routinely lookout for any equipment defects on board, and they can also be seen to keep OCC regularly informed on the driverless train’s condition, as observed during the regular occurrence of ‘routine system test’ announcement.


I Need Assistance On Board, What Should I Do?

Rover MRT staff checking the Emergency Detrainment Door on a Driverless MRT train.

Rover MRT staff checking the Emergency Detrainment Door on a Driverless MRT train. (Photo: Baey Yam Keng/Facebook)

In a dire situation, we urge that you should not hesitate to activate the Emergency Communication Button, located at the side of the train doors.

If you encounter a train cabin with faulty air-conditioning, you may highlight and specify the train cabin number to the Rover on board.

The Rover will work together with the OCC to solidify a solution which ensures that passengers are kept safe and comfortable during their journey.

Related Links
During a train disruption – SGTrains
North East Line – SGTrains
Circle Line – SGTrains
Downtown Line – SGTrains
Thomson-East Coast Line – SGTrains

External Links
“#DidYouKnow that even on our newer driverless trains, there are MRT staff on board?” – Baey Yam Keng/Facebook
“While our newer trains may be driverless, MRT staff known as ‘rovers’ can be seen on board to ensure a safe and smooth journey for commuters by keeping the Operations Control Centre updated of any unusual situation. 🚇” – Ministry of Transport, Singapore/Facebook
“Meet Irrawarini Binte Latif, one of our ‘rovers’ for the Circle Line. 🚇” – SMRT/Facebook

Photos adapted from Baey Yam Keng/Facebook

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I'm a train enthusiast who is broadly interested in the different means of technology which powers Singapore's train network.