Safety barriers for all above-ground stations

THE number of people intruding into the train track area of above-ground MRT stations has doubled from an average of 16 cases in 2004 and 2005, to 30 in 2006 and 31 last year.

So, from next year, platform screen doors will be installed at three above-ground train stations at Yishun, Jurong East and Pasir Ris in a pilot scheme to curb this disturbing trend and enhance passenger safety. And by 2012, all above-ground stations will be equipped with such doors.

Transport Minister Raymond Lim said track intrusions, besides risking lives, disrupt train services and inconvenience commuters especially at peak hour.

The idea of installing platform barriers or screen doors has been raised in recent years after a spate of high-profile incidents but cost was a deterrent.

For example, in 2006, a man pushed his former girlfriend onto the tracks at Clementi station, for which he was later convicted of attempted murder.

Now, as platform screen doors are being adopted in more transit systems worldwide, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said costs have fallen by about 25 per cent.

These doors could be about 1.5m tall and will still allow for natural ventilation, said the authority. There are 34 existing above-ground stations run by SMRT; all SBS Transit-run North-East Line stops are underground.

Other improvements are in store, such as 17 additional lifts for 16 MRT stations, costing $70 million. While all stations have been provided with at least one barrier-free entrance inclusive of a lift, at these 16 stations entrances are either far apart or separated by major roads. Mr Lim said putting a lift at another entrance would benefit, among others, elderly commuters.

By end-2011, more than 70 per cent of stations will have at least two barrier-free access routes.

Source : Weekend Today -26 Jan 2008

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