//
you're reading...
The Straits Times

Why SMRT’s Laissez-Faire Attitude Worries Commuters

Yesterday, the operator revealed that Wednesday’s vandalism occurred because security guards from the agency it hired had not conducted patrols as directed” (SMRT: Guards Didn’t Do Night Patrols At Bishan Depot, Mr. Royston Sim, Miss Kimberly Spykerman And Mr. Lin Wenjian).

Unfortunately, at the moment, what worries commuters most is the considerably laissez-faire attitude adopted by the SMRT, and the corresponding ambivalence displayed by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) towards the recent break-in.

A first time oversight, granted; in spite of the multiple levels of checks and enforcements, it would be unrealistic for service providers to continuously ensure that its key depots are completely impregnable. Last year’s breach of SMRT’s Changi Depot by a Swiss national – as expounded in the investigative piece “SMRT: Guards Didn’t Do Night Patrols At Bishan Depot” (August 20, 2011) by Mr. Royston Sim – should have served as a timely reminder; unfortunately, at the moment, what worries commuters most is the considerably laissez-faire attitude adopted by the SMRT, and the corresponding ambivalence displayed by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) towards the recent break-in.

SMRT And MOT: Why The Ambivalence?

As Singaporeans had astutely pointed out before, there would be painful ramifications if the aforementioned patterns of nonchalance by the authorities and operators are allowed to manifest. Unattended train carriages are extremely vulnerable to sabotages – in terms of the planting of explosives or the disabling of mechanical components – by individuals harbouring malicious intents. Higher-level infrastructural compromises can potentially bring about disastrous technological disruptions that could affect the day-to-day functioning of the system. Therefore, all respective stakeholders can ill-afford to allow complacency or bureaucracy to blind them from these dangers.

Discussions on the reprimanding of the security guard agency – following the recent lapse explained by SMRT – additional surveillance systems, embedded fencing and other perimeter security measures would be meaningless if the root problems of apathy and lethargy are not recognised. Otherwise, how would one explain the repetitive nature of the consecutive incidents? The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and its administrators must also go beyond regular checks and audits, to include proposals, fines et cetera.

Looking Beyond The Status Quo

These standards should be comprehensively extended to bus services, depots and interchanges; where accessibility is high because of the sheer volume of the fleet.

Needless to say, the ongoing investigations should take into account how the break-in was conducted, and subsequently analysed to see if there are similarities – possible “weak spots” or oversights – with last year’s vandalism case. Everything must be properly accounted for. After all the recommendations by the Public Transport Security Committee (PTSC) have been adopted and actually implemented, further review, unannounced checks and break-in simulations can be organised for appropriate follow-up. These standards should be comprehensively extended to bus services, depots and interchanges; where accessibility is high because of the sheer volume of the fleet.

Compromise safety and security; compromise lives. Given the country’s reliance upon the public transportation system, SMRT’s responsibility of keeping its premises safe and secure benefits not only its own reputation and functionality, but also the collective well-being of its commuters. So SMRT; snap out of the status quo; psychological assurances of security can, in the long run, be tremendously beneficial for Singaporeans in general.

A version of this article was published in The Straits Times.

Advertisements

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.

Discussion

8 thoughts on “Why SMRT’s Laissez-Faire Attitude Worries Commuters

  1. Did the CEO really say words to the effect “If LTA wants to fine SMRT, so be it? ”

    And is it because the CEO couldn’t really be bothered because at the end of the day, SMRT will still be handing in the dividends to its shareholders because our PM Lee has sort of guarantee it of a reasonable profit (in the name of providing efficiency), via this political tool known as PTC or Public Transport Committee ?

    So no matter harsh the penalty is, SMRT’s bottom line is not going to be affected because it will still the commuters who will be paying for the penalty eventually. And the penalty ends up in Govt’s coffers as the Govt happens also to be its largest shareholder. And when the profit dips again, is it not a good excuse to ask for another raise in the public transport fares ?

    Is our PAP govt making a fool of we public transport commuters ?

    Posted by Leong | August 24, 2011, 9:56 am
  2. They are more concerned about making money, bottom line to please shareholders.

    Posted by KMT | August 24, 2011, 10:19 am
  3. You don’t need gaurds to patrol, install more CCTV cameras…follow up on the rest.

    Posted by Wee Kee Meng | August 24, 2011, 8:23 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Daily SG: 24 Aug 2011 « The Singapore Daily - August 24, 2011

  2. Pingback: Three Strikes, and she’s out! SMRT’s response to the breakdown crisis | Television Journalism - March 22, 2012

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow guanyinmiao's musings on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,249 other followers

Twitter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

%d bloggers like this: