MRT disruptions show inadequate crisis response: Transport minister

Minister of Transport Lui Tuck Yew said on Monday that the Dec 15 and 17 train disruptions showed gaps in emergency preparedness and crisis response.

Speaking at a parliamentary sitting on Monday, he said immediate measures have been put in place by various government agencies and the train operators to improve crisis management plans.

One of the measures that train operator SMRT has implemented is to improve communications with commuters by letting its Operations Control Centre broadcast directly to passengers.

Emergency announcements will be made in other languages besides English.

In his speech, Minister Lui said LTA and transport operators are also turning to other forms of communications to broadcast their messages.

"SMRT has set up a Twitter account to provide timely information on service delays.

"LTA and the operators are also exploring alternatives like using mass SMS broadcasts to alert commuters to service disruptions," he said.

Other than improving communications, LTA has also reviewed SMRT and SBS Transit's bus bridging plans to ensure that bus routing and passenger boarding and alighting points are capable of catering to the volume of passengers expected.

As part of these plans, SMRT is ensuring that drivers are clear about their routes. An officer will be deployed with every bus convoy if their drivers are unfamiliar with the route to guide them along.

Signages for evacuation routes and bus bridging points have also been improved.

According to the minister, LTA is also working with both operators to improve contingency plans, including a more integrated and holistic approach to incident management and service recovery.

"Coordination efforts between government agencies and operator have been enhanced, and communication protocols streamlined so that operators can alert LTA, SPF and SCDF more quickly if assistance is required.

"Government agencies are also reviewing and refining response protocols and emergency procedures with the operators," he said.

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