I read an article on ChannelNewsAsia’s website saying that by 2012 Singapore will finish installing half-height screens (or safety doors) along the lengths of above-ground MRT stations.
They’re doing this in an attempt to make the stations more safe for passengers. There have been 92 instances since 2006 where people have fallen onto the tracks, accidentally or otherwise, and it causes a serious disruption to MRT traffic that can last up to an hour while police do investigations. That may not seem like much, but there is only one line going in most directions, so it can cripple public transportation. Not to mention it’s just not that cool for people to be killing themselves.
Here’s a map of Singapore’s MRT lines, just so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about:
So anyway, this all seems like a good thing right? It’s gonna cost some cash (S$126 million for all 36 stations) but in the long-run it will save lives and prevent costly disruptions.
When polled, most Singaporeans were in favor of the idea, quoting safety reasons. Some even wanted to see the entirety of the outdoor stations enclosed (and I’m guessing air conditioned, though it wasn’t stated).
However, you can’t please everyone! Here’s a quote from the original article:
Most commuters 938LIVE spoke to welcomed the addition, as they believe the doors can prevent accidental intrusion onto the tracks.
“When it’s too crowded, and people start to push each other around, then it can stop that from happening,” said a passenger.
However, some raised concerns about ventilation. “I think it’s very unsightly. It just blocks the flow of… the air. (The air) doesn’t flow from left to right. Mainly it’s unsightly,” said another commuter.
They were nice enough to make it sound more like the woman was concerned about ventilation, but as you can see, she mentions first, and then again at the end, that it is “unsightly”. She even says that it is “mainly” unsightly.
I mean, come on. What’s more important? Preventing the loss of human life or aesthetics? It’s a train station, not an art gallery, and not the Prada or Louis Vuitton store.
Personally, I think these screens are a fantastic addition to the above-ground train stations and will help to prevent accidental loss of life and suicide attempts.
According to the article they were installed at the Pasir Ris MRT station, but I haven’t been through the MRT station since Tuesday, so I’ll have to get over there and check it out!