Safety procedures need constant enforcement

A responsible public transport operator like SMRT is accountable to both its commuters and workers because the frequent disruptions have created a crisis of public trust and confidence.
A responsible public transport operator like SMRT is accountable to both its commuters and workers because the frequent disruptions have created a crisis of public trust and confidence. ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

I am saddened that despite SMRT's efforts to improve its maintenance regime, equipment failure, train disruptions, and workplace security and safety breaches continue to take place, the last resulting in the death of two young workers ("Safety lapse in track accident, says SMRT"; last Thursday).

The consequent train disruption also caused inconvenience and frustration to commuters, as well as a loss of productive man-hours.

Apologising to the public, investigating the causes of the disruptions and offering compensation will not ensure that there will be no more accidents and breakdowns.

What is of utmost importance - and often neglected - in running any organisation is to put in place regular and strict enforcement of set procedures.

Neatly formulated procedures are drawn up, but these frequently fall into neglect with the passage of time, a problem which has the ultimate effect of hurting operational efficiency.

There have been appeals from various quarters for a major overhaul of SMRT train services, to ensure that the system is running efficiently and safely once and for all.

It must be realised that an audit of the system in its entirety would reveal hidden deficiencies.

The existing model should also be completely reviewed and revamped. In fact, one wonders why the authorities have not yet seen it fit to overhaul the train system.

A responsible public transport operator like SMRT is accountable to both its commuters and workers because the frequent disruptions have created a crisis of public trust and confidence .

It is no use professing that we are a First World country if we cannot run a rail network with reliability, pride and integrity.

V. Subramaniam (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2016, with the headline 'Safety procedures need constant enforcement'. Print Edition | Subscribe