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     FrontPage Edition: Wed 22 September 2004

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Safety at MRT and LRT stations


The recent spate of incidents at MRT station platforms has raised concerns over commuters' safety at the open platforms of aboveground MRT and LRT stations.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the public transport operators take a serious view of the safety of commuters. SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT) has enhanced the safety measures at stations with open platforms.

Eighty-seven per cent of the cases where commuters were found trespassing on the tracks at aboveground MRT and LRT stations in the last 13 years were non-accidental acts.

For the safety of commuters, the operators will step up enforcement against those who violate the instruction not to step beyond "yellow line" until the train has stopped at the station.

Cases of Trespassing

Despite the various safety measures in place, there have been more than 220 cases, where commuters were found trespassing on the tracks at above-ground MRT and LRT stations, between 1991 and 15 September 2004.

Eighty-seven percent of such cases were non-accidental acts, which involved commuters jumping onto the tracks to retrieve personal items, walking, running or taking short cuts to another platform, and acts of suicide.

There were nine fatalities, of which eight were due to these non-accidental acts and one was an accident. The Police are still investigating the latest four cases of fatalities.

Public Reactions

Public reactions to the recent spate of incidents have been mixed, with some advocating the installation of physical barriers such as half height metal railings.

Others questioned the efficacy of such installations and advocated that commuters should take personal responsibility for their own safety.

However, physical barriers, such as metal railings and half-height barriers, cannot effectively prevent trespassing onto the tracks as commuters can still enter the tracks by going through the openings or climbing over the barriers. Such barriers may also pose a safety hazard if commuters get trapped between the barriers and the train doors.

A balance needs to be struck between excessive installation of safety features and how such measures would exact a cost on the provision of public transport services.

LTA and the operators will therefore not install railings and half height barriers. But we will review other options thoroughly to assess the feasibility and practicality of these options in enhancing safety of commuters at the aboveground platforms.

Respect the Yellow Line

Commuters can play their part and take personal responsibility for their own safety when using the MRT or LRT system.

They should observe and comply with the safety rules, including respecting the "yellow line" by staying within the safety zone, when waiting for their trains at the aboveground stations.

Commuters should also exercise social responsibility, as they should realise that their actions can cause service disruptions, which will inconvenience thousands of commuters.

For the safety of commuters, the rail operators will step up enforcement against those who ignore the instruction not to cross the yellow line until the train has stopped. The LTA will not hesitate to prosecute those who intentionally trespass onto the tracks.

Under the Rapid Transit System (RTS) Regulations 11 and 29, commuters, who ignore the instruction not to cross yellow line until the train has stopped at the station, may be fined up to $500. For those who are caught trespassing onto the tracks, they may be fined up to $5,000.

Commuters' Safety - A Shared Responsibility

The LTA, SMRT and SBS Transit are committed to the safety of commuters using the MRT and LRT systems. We will review the existing safety provisions and available options sensibly, with a view to enhance commuters' safety.

We would also like to remind commuters to act responsibly and stay behind the yellow line. With commuters acting responsibly for their own safety, as well as others' convenience, we can together minimise the recurrence of such incidents.

Intrusion Analysis...

Source: Land Transport Authority News Release 20 Sep 2004

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