Commuters had a first taste of the new security scheme employed in select MRT stations as part of its 6-month triial period to upgrade its security protocols, as shared in a report by the Strait Times.
Starting last November 12, commuters at Little India Station along the North East Line (NEL) and Downown Line, as well as those in Bedok Station along the East West Line, were made to pass through metal detector gates and lodge their belongings through X-ray scanners prior to entering the fare gates.
Increased Security Checks Initiated at Two MRT Stations in Singapore
There are three other stations installed with security equipment – Ang Mo Kio, Yishun, and Bukit Panjang, however, these three were not part of the stations which held live tests with actual commuters.
The initiative was to get passengers visibly used to the process of going through the new equipment as part of the security protocols at MRT stations.
The pieces of equipment from the five stations will be alternately rotated in other parts of the train line within the trial period.
As per the Land Transport Authority (LTA), the trial will be implemented at up to six (6) stations across Singapore’s rail network.
To ensure efficiency of the tests, designation of the security equipment at select stations will be done at random and is to be kept confidential for security reasons.
The additional screenings will run between 5:30 am up until midnight or all throughout train operation hours.
Regarding the screening procedures, most checks have been completed within 30 seconds or less.
As of now, the LTA clarified that as with the bag checks, not all commuters will be required to go through the enhanced security screenings. This is to ensure that the process will not cause any delay to the majority of the riding public.
LTA’s public transport security deputy director Joseph Goh, security officers have been trained to efficiently assess potential threats such as those covered in bulky bags or luggage.
The new initiative takes into careful consideration the fact that public transport systems are particularly susceptible to acts of terrorism due to the large number of people these facilities accommodate on a daily basis.
By year-end, public transport operators will also progressively introduce the use of handheld metal detectors as part of the security checks at bus interchanges and MRT stations.