MRT Disruptions

In face of the raising price hikes, commuters in Singapore are continuing their gripe about their transport woes. For the MRT first there was the lack of sufficient trains, which led to an overcrowding of passengers on board, than there was the constant disruptions and breakdowns to the train service (since the opening of the new line). To top it off, there were the security lapses at Changi depot in May last year and at Bishan MRT depot in August this year.

For each of the train disruptions, SMRT had failed to properly inform commuters. Take the most recent incident that happened yesterday, commuters at Raffles Place MRT Station were not informed about the disruption, with the screen panel only reflecting, “Do not board". There was no station master at the station to tell them of the situation, nor was there any announcement. There was also no instructions or help rendered by SMRT staff to show commuters where to take the buses when the bus bridging service was activated, after an hour. The situation was so bad that commuters on board a train actually took a fire extinguisher to break open the glass for air flow: they were stuck the train for more than 45 minutes, with no lights and air-condition. 

Commuters smashed windows and forced open doors for air flow into the train carriages.
(Photo from Twitter)
The government has responded that it will conduct a thorough check on the train systems to determine if these are isolated incidents or whether there are “systemic and more serious underlying issues”, how the faults happened and whether the maintenance, communication and recovery processes were adhered to and where it can be further improved. Needless to say the train operator will get a nice fine on top of the mess it is in already.

There is no perfect system in the world, hiccups happen from time to time, but the severity depends on preparedness of the ones in charge of the system. Perhaps Singaporeans have been “pampered” to such an extent that when things happen we are at a loss. Or could it be that over the years we have become complacent, ingrained into our mentality that nothing could possibly go wrong, and everything we do is absolutely correct? And when something really happens, panic and chaos ensues, along with complaints. -_-"

Yes, action should be taken to prevent or minimize this from happening again. Yes, commuters have every right to be upset. But perhaps we should always be prepared (and informed) for an emergency (contingency plan anyone?), rather than be assured that everything is fine and pretending that it will be all ok when the trains are not even moving and people are near suffocating…
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