Ang Mo Kio MRT station safe even without platform barriers: Expert witness
The expert witness for transport operator SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that even without a platform barrier, the safety of commuters at Ang Mo Kio MRT station had not been compromised.
In fact, many rail systems in the world do not have platform barriers and yet still operate safely using adequate warning systems.
Head of Safety and Environment (Department) at the Toronto Transit Commission John O'Grady, said this on the fifth day of the lawsuit by a Thai teenager against SMRT and LTA.
Ms Pen-Eakchanasak Nitcharee lost her legs in April last year, after she fell onto the train tracks at Ang Mo Kio station.
She claims that inadequate measures had been taken to prevent her from falling off the platform, and that SMRT and LTA had been negligent in failing to construct sufficient barriers between the platform and track.
At the time of the incident, Ang Mo Kio station was slated to have half-height platform screen doors, which were being implemented progressively.
Ms Nitcharee's lawyers asked Mr O'Grady if the screen doors ought to have been implemented earlier - considering that train stations in some countries had already adopted this solution by the mid-2000s.
In 2009, Pasir Ris station was the first above-ground station to get retrofitted with a half-height screen doors. Work at the remaining 35 stations was completely progressively and the project was completed earlier this year. The entire project cost S$126 million.
But Mr O'Grady noted that half-height screen doors on train platforms is a relatively new technology and has been around for only about 10 years.
He said the fact that Singapore is an early adopter of such technology shows an extraordinary investment in public safety and that the transport operators have gone 'well-above' the norms of the industry.
Mr O'Grady also noted that while platform safety systems can be sufficient and adequate, they are not a failsafe against people falling on the tracks.
This is because all transport systems involve people and incidents can result from human error.
On Thursday, Mr O'Grady had testified that there were sufficient audio and visual warnings to ensure the safety of commuters at the time of Ms Nitcharee's fall.
This included the yellow line, tactile warning studs, signs and announcements, as well as the deployment of two safety officials during peak hour to make sure commuters comply with platform safety protocol.
SMRT and LTA maintain they had provided a reasonably safe premise for Ms Nitcharee, and that it was her own negligence that caused her fall.
The trial continues.
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