SINGAPORE: More witnesses are expected to be called to the stand in the lawsuit filed by a Thai teenager against rail operator SMRT and the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
Ms Pen—Eakchanasak Nitcharee lost her legs in April last year after she fell onto the train tracks at Ang Mo Kio MRT station.
The case was to have wrapped up on Thursday after LTA’s witness, architect Andrew Mead, gave his evidence, but the court found that some questions were still unanswered.
Mr Mead said that LTA’s decision to build half—height platform screen doors at all above—ground MRT stations was to prevent track intrusions that would disrupt the train services.
In his affidavit, Mr Mead noted that in the years leading up to 2007, there was a significant increase in deliberate track intrusions at above—ground stations.
Most resulted in service disruptions that lasted between 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of the injury.
This led to Judicial Commissioner Vinodh Coomaraswamy asking if the LTA’s main concern is to keep trains coming on time, rather than prevent the loss of lives.
He added that the safety benefits appeared incidental rather than intended.
Mr Mead disputed this, and said that both points were linked if LTA and SMRT were to provide commuters with a good and reliable public transport system.
Also, these screen doors had become more affordable as the technology matured.
He added that LTA had not considered installing interim measures as the risk profile of the stations had not changed.
He highlighted that station safety measures have been in place for about 20 years and are consistent with the global standards.
He also said that interim measures, such as temporary barriers, has its own set of complications, and can also impede work on the half—height platform screen doors.
The Court then pointed out that witnesses who might have been able to give important evidence had not been called.
This includes someone who could explain the cost—benefit analysis of the screen doors before it was given the green light, as well as someone who could explain how proposals to improve safety features at the MRT stations are dealt with.
The Judicial Commissioner then asked why the LTA Masterplan, which explained the decision to implement the half—height platform screen doors, had not been disclosed in the discovery process.
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