Monday, April 07, 2008

Bukit Gombak MRT Station: In Chaos

The MRT train service along the North-South line was disrupted at about 8:00 a.m. this morning. It is understood that the delay was caused by an accident at Choa Chu Kang MRT station.

Bukit Gomak MRTI was at Bukit Gombak MRT during this time to board train towards Jurong East station. It was utter chaos in the Bukit Gombak MRT station and people were left stranded. I am writing this post to express my disappointment. I can understand that accidents are unexpected. But, the response should have been planned. Many exercises have been conducted to show people how to face emergency situations and how to react. But, why SMRT team is not ready with contingency measures when such disruption occurs? I will list down the issues below:
  • Poor Communication
    The public announcement system at Bukit Gombak MRT station is barely audible. With the huge crowd gathering, the staff should have made the announcements with a little more clarity. The passengers were not informed of the expected delay and when the train services are expected to resume.

  • No alternate arrangements
    The passengers were instructed to go to Bukit Batok MRT station to continue their journey towards Jurong East interchange. As only bus service 945 passes through Bukit Gombak, the crowd started to gather at the bus stop outside the MRT station. As I could not board the bus in front of the MRT, I decided to board the bus at the bus stop opposite. I had to spend about another 20 to 30 minutes as the bus went through the entire Bukit Batok West before coming back to Bukit Gombak station and continued to Bukit Batok bus interchange. More buses could have been directed to the 945 route or special buses could have been arranged to ferry the passengers to Bukit Batok.

  • No updates
    SMRT could have made some efforts to make some announcements to the public through the radio stations. While I was in the feeder service, I was not sure what was happening. I had to ponder whether it is OK to get down at Bukit Batok to board the train again. As no updates were forthcoming, I decided to take another bus to Clementi. I thought it is better to play safe rather than give the benefit of doubt to MRT service.

  • Poor administration
    The accident has affected the train services beyond Bukit Gombak towards Choa Chu Kang. There was no problem in the route from Bukit Gombak towards Jurong East. So, I do not understand why passengers were not allowed to board the empty trains that went back towards Jurong East. If train services could run from Bukit Batok, as announced, why not from Bukit Gombak? I think it is due to the poor administration and lack of some quick decisions that led to this delay, at least at Bukit Gombak station.
It is difficult to comprehend that such haphazard arrangements still exist in the systematic Singapore. Hope SMRT will be prepared if such disruptions happen again.


  1. Anonymous2:32 PM

    I was at the Gombak MRT too. After the staff got everyone to evacuate the premise to take the bus to Bukit Batok, I decide to wait on the platform. After 5 mins, when the next train arrives from Jurong East, the SMRT staff decided its ok to allow the passengers to take the train to Jurong East! There was barely a handful on the train as most of the people has been evacuted to the bus stops. I was only delayed by about 10-15 mins due to the accident. However i feel for those who did not waited as i did and were late. I agree that SMRT could have done much better in this case.

  2. Thanks for your comments. Thats exactly my point. The SMRT staff should have allowed the passengers to take the train to Jurong East.

    I should have waited too. I was delayed by more than an hour.

  3. Anonymous7:34 PM

    are you stupid... they had to clear the body from the track.. use your brain... i was there