Monday, April 07, 2008

MRT Train Service Disruption at CCK: Update

In my earlier post, Bukit Gombak MRT Station: In Chaos, I have expressed my disappointment in the way SMRT handled the disruption to train services between Yew Tee and Bukit Gombak MRT stations. The train services were disrupted for about an hour, between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. this morning.

It is clear now that the disruption was caused by a man, who fell onto the MRT track and was hit by an approaching train. The accident happened at Choa Chu Kang MRT station in the North-South line. The man, a Chinese in his mid-40s, was pronounced dead at about 8:30am. It is understood that Police has classified this as unnatural death and are investigating.

It is too early to conclude the cause of the death. But, this death will once again open up discussions on the safety at the MRT platforms, which do not have platform screen doors. The underground stations are normally fitted with platform screen doors. But, the elevated stations do not have such protection.

With the huge crowd in the morning peak hours, everyone likes to get close to the door opening before the train arrives. This exposes passengers to the hazard of being pushed into the MRT tracks while the train is approaching the station. The trains are too crowded and if you are too gentle, you would never get into the train. This is particularly true in stations like Chua Chu Kang, Bukit Gombak and Bukit Batok that are close to the end of North-South line. When trains arrive at these stations, they are already full and there is enough space for only one or two to squeeze themselves into the train. You face the same problem in the city-bound trains at Jurong East MRT interchange.

I have shared my experience with the trains in the west of Singapore. But, I believe the problem is the same all over Singapore. Will SMRT look into increasing the number of trains during peak hours? Will LTA expedite the construction of platform screen doors at the elevated MRT stations? Will SMRT start to handle such disruptions in a better way? I am waiting for the answers/ actions as you do.


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