SMRT Woes…

With the recent debate and firing going on at SMRT regarding it’s CEO’s remarks over our peak period trains recently, the number of complaints shot in by commuters to ST Forums increased significantly too.

However, unfortunately, I would say, some people shoot without thinking – without reading up on the real reasons and without understanding the actions of any SMRT staff involved. Wimps, I would say… here’s a very good example.

I was appalled to read this ST Forum letter by commuter Tan Kim Hock – (Caught repeatedly by closing MRT doors), who deliberately complained about the following operations of a peak period train which he boarded:

  • The train door opened and closed repeatedly, hitting him as he tried to get on and off the train
  • Questioning the ability of the train drivers on whether they are proficient and can actually see the platform and the train
  • Questioning the absence of the SMRT staff to handle peak period traffic volume of commuters
  • Ensuring all commuters have alighted before moving off

As sensible to the public as this might seem on first view, perhaps further thought into these issues could enlighten ourselves and save the need for such a ridiculous complain letter. I shan’t waste my time in penning this letter to ST Forums as SMRT will explain themselves, but I do hope that Singaporeans and other people living here will attempt to understand our transport train system instead of shooting them.

The fact that trains run on a 3.5min basis during peak hours show our efficiency, and yet people fail to recognize them – I see stupid questions on why are the carriages not doubled during peak period.


Look, these kind of questions should never have surfaced in the first place – how uneducated must a person be to pose such a retarded question? If you want to double the platform length, you’ll have to pay more taxes, and in the end, who’s to blame? The Government will come under fire for imposing higher taxes just because idiot(s) demanded for a longer platform so that SMRT can double their carriage numbers during peak period.

Back to answer our dear Mr Tan’s questions:

For the benefit of those who do not understand or know SMRT operations, perhaps these could enlighten you and perhaps you would think twice before firing questions to the press and SMRT in future:

  1. Train doors opening and closing repeatedly: Drivers only open and close train doors at any instances when the platform screen door does not shut properly. This only occurs at underground train platforms, whereby there are sensors installed between every platform screen door (PSD) to ensure that it is properly shut before the train is allowed to move off. Should any of the PSD not be shut properly due to any objects dislodged in it or stuck in between the doors, there will be a red light right above the door that lights up (just like how it lights up when the doors are open). Thus, drivers tend to open and close doors in the attempt to resolve the problem and continue the journey. The split second of ‘open-close’ doors are not meant for you commuters to rush into the train thinking you’re named Sonic or whatsoever speed freak, but to allow the train to carry on its journey.
  2. Train drivers not being able to see platform: Here’s your answer, dear Mr Tan. All trains are connected wirelessly to the CCTV cameras on every platform station, allowing the driver to remain in the cab while monitoring the platform situation in his cabin. A look into the driving cabin would reveal the big black box next to the Emergency Derailment Ramp beside the driving console. That is where the driver looks for passengers attempting to board the train last minute so that they do not crush the poor soul.
    As to whether there are cameras inside the train to enable drivers to monitor the situation near the door, no there are no such cameras. Just do the simple maths and you will realize it: 1 carriage has 4 out of 8 doors operating at any one time… 6 carriages will mean 24 different doors – imagine 24 different CCTVs and screens reflecting in the driving cab! That’s insane! How are you going to notice 24 different screens at the same time! Absolutely absurb!
  3. SMRT Staff handling peak period traffic: I won’t comment on this as there are supposed to be staff handling the volume of peak period traffic. But then again, if you place yourself in the shoes of these staff, there are only so many of you guys there – you can’t possibly station yourself at every single door to ensure that any commuter like Mr Tan who wishes to alight does not get slammed repeatedly in the face by our poor doors. Think of it yourself and perhaps you will realize how foolish you sound.
  4. Ensuring all passengers have alighted before moving off: WRT point 2, there can’t be 24 CCTVs working in the cab – it’s absurb. That’s not considering in addition to the 4 that’s already in operation monitoring the platform itself.
    Here comes the answer as to how staff ensures all passengers get off the train. Have you kidos ever wondered what the chime is for? “DING DONG… DOORS CLOSING… BEEPx13 times?” Well, in case you DIDN’T know for such a long period of your lives, that’s what it’s for. TO WARN PEOPLE THE DOORS ARE CLOSING. Which country in the world has drivers walking along the platform to ensure nobody steps out in the last minute!?

I generally find the comments and questions posed by our people rather redundant at times. Yes there are good feedback occasionally, but most of the time, a simple research or in-depth thinking will solve the problem, especially this. Yes, so SMRT failed to live up to its transportation service expectation of letting Mr Tan alight without any problems and frustration, but have any of you ever wondered how efficient our train system is actually compared to other countries? *This sounds like Bernadette Low’s speech, but it’s actually the truth*. Do you expect every train system to be similar to the TGV or Bullet Train in Japan? Nonsense.

I’m not targetting any individual or any specific group, but to the ‘shoot before understanding the problem’ kind of people, stop asking stupid questions and stop being wimps. Move faster, and if you fail to alight, no big deal. Alight at the next station and catch the opposite train. Don’t cause our poor drivers to suffer because of your failure to understand the situation.


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