[top photo: NEW FEATURE - The doors at Pasir Ris MRT station (above) will also be seen at Yishun and Jurong East stations by year-end.]
By Sia Ling Xin
THE first screen doors to prevent commuters on aboveground MRT platforms from falling onto train tracks were unveiled yesterday at Pasir Ris MRT station.
The station is the first of three to have the 1.5m-high screen doors installed by the end of this year. The other two are Yishun and Jurong East MRT stations.
The second phase of this project will begin next year for stations in the western part of the island, followed by those in the east, and, finally, those on the North-South Line.
By 2012, all 36 above-ground MRT stations will have these screen doors.
While such doors have already been installed in train stations in Europe, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Taipei, Singapore will be the first country to have them system-wide.
Manufactured by a German company, the glass doors can withstand a pressure of 150kg per sq m. They are expected to be more effective in preventing accidents than the yellow lines marked on the station floor, said a Land Transport Authority (LTA) spokesman.
So far this year, 18 people have strayed onto the tracks, close to 23 cases for the whole of last year.
The LTA spokesman said that as the doors are not at full height, ventilation at the stations will not be affected.
It will take four to six months to fit 48 doors at a typical MRT station.
The installation will be done only at night, to avoid creating inconvenience for commuters.
All 10 commuters interviewed yesterday by my paper approved of the safety feature.
Mr Steven Chong, a 60-yearold retiree who takes the train often, said: "It's a good idea...especially when it comes to children and the elderly. Safety is very important."
Mr Andrew Ang, 28, a student, commended the Government for "spending money well".
The Government will pay the hefty $126-million cost of installing the doors, but the train operators will have to pay the maintenance fees.
Some commuters, like student Png Yuxin, 22, were concerned that this might "result in a hike in fares".
For more my paper stories click here.