For the past years, bus and train fare hikes have always been justified citing raising fuel costs and it always passed through. Of recent years, the public had been urging the train operators to put up barriers due to the increased number of accidental falls and suicide attempts at the stations. However, this was put away citing high costs – and that if it pushes through, this cost would eventually be passed back to the commuters.

Well, that seemed to be the case soon – now  that there are plans to put up barriers in not one, not two, but all stations that are above ground, by 2012. Put this and the constantly raising fuel costs and I can foresee a huge jump in transport fares soon. Actually, it’ll come – it’s just when.

NO MORE falling onto MRT train tracks by accident or design.

The Government has decided to install screen doors on the platforms of all above-ground stations.

The doors will first be installed in Jurong East, Pasir Ris and Yishun stations next year, with the other stations to follow by 2012.

Transport Minister Raymond Lim said yesterday that, besides endangering lives, such incidents disrupted train services and inconvenienced many commuters, especially during peak hours.

Talk of installing such doors has been rife in the last four years. The subject has also reared its head in Parliament whenever someone strays onto the tracks.

The number of such incidents has been on the up: from an average of 16 cases a year in 2004 and 2005, to 30 in 2006 and 31 last year.

But each time the subject was raised, SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) surfaced the ‘cost effectiveness’ question, given the number of such incidents. The LTA also said the cost of the doors could eventually be borne by commuters in the form of higher fares.

But yesterday, Mr Lim explained that, with such screen doors being adopted in transit systems worldwide, their cost has come down. LTA confirmed that the cost has fallen by a quarter, but declined to give specific numbers.

It has not been decided how high these doors will be or what form they will take, but they will be of a ‘sufficient’ height and yet still allow for fresh air to circulate, said the LTA.

Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC Cynthia Phua, among those who have called for such doors, applauded Mr Lim’s announcement yesterday from her seat in the audience. She told The Straits Times later: ‘If you have children and you know they will eventually take the MRT, you will be concerned about safety.’

MARIA ALMENOAR

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY APRIL CHONG

Article obtained from straitstimes.com on 26th January 2008



Reader's Comments

  1. spyer | January 26th, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    All these years, they have been telling us that the costs of barriers cannot be justified. And now, suddenly, we are full stream ahead. Well, how do you justified it this time? You mean that we suddenly have the money to do it now. Bear in mind, we are heading for an economy slowdown. The Singapore government seem to have a lot of cash to fund all these new transportation initiatives.

    But, why do we need many months to review if the amount of PDA should go beyond $290. Over to you, Vivian.

    Ladies and gentlemen, here we go again.

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