Test MRT breakdown plans: Khaw

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan has directed the Land Transport Authority to conduct a collaborative exercise with rail operators SMRT and SBS Transit this month, in order to test the enhanced contingency plans put in place following the crippling July 7 breakdown.

He will be present to observe the exercise.

In his latest blog entry titled "If and when it happens...", Mr Khaw wrote that it was important to recover service speedily and minimise inconvenience to commuters in the event of another major train disruption.

"There must therefore be comprehensive contingency plans for breakdowns. More importantly, there must be actual and regular walk-throughs and 'live rehearsals'," he said.

"This will ensure smoother execution of such plans when disruptions happen."

Mr Khaw, stressing the need for both operators to walk through each contingency plan related to every MRT station, also spoke of how the top management should be present at such exercises.

"Otherwise, the staff may carry them out half-heartedly, just to put a tick in the checkboxes," he added.

He also repeated his previous assertion that "low crime does not mean no crime", pointing out that even "the best in class" - the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway - experiences an average of one major disruption per month.

This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.