Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Fallacies In SMRT's Response To The Most Recent Death On MRT Tracks


Assuming you all have been reading today's Straits Times, you all would undoubtedly have read the article reporting about the most recent death, the 4th such case in these 2 months, on the MRT tracks that happened yesterday morning ("Another death on the tracks -- 4th in 2 months", 6/12/2006).

In that article, it was reported that Mr Victor Tan, SMRT Trains' vice-president of rail operations said: "we have explored the possibility of installing half-height barriers. However, as it is still possible for passengers to climb over them, they would not effectively eliminate accidents" and remarked that "the option of platform screen doors was expensive, so 'we continued to explore other solutions so as to not pass additional financial burdens on to passengers'".

Hmm... I don't know about you all but it seems to me that these statements made by Mr Tan are somewhat fallacious.

I mean, just think about it, the statement about how half-height barriers are not installed because they "would not effectively eliminate accidents", in my opinion, is analogous to saying that since having a strong military will not eliminate the possibility of a country being invaded, it is not necessary for countries to have a strong military. Yes, while having a strong military does not eliminate the possibility of a country being invaded, it does help to prevent invasions from happening.

Likewise, while the presence of half-height barriers may perhaps not effectively eliminate accidents on MRT tracks, it seems to me that they, once installed, will help to prevent such accidents. Yes, people with the intent to jump onto the MRT tracks may still be able to climb over these half-height barriers but at least they will be delayed when climbing over these barriers and thus perhaps giving those nearby to them on the platform a chance to pull them back.

Anyway, it seems to me that, barring people with the intent to jump onto the MRT tracks who may climb over them, these barriers will help to prevent people from accidentally falling onto the tracks; unless, of course, people are somehow able to accidentally go over these barriers and fall onto the tracks. But I think that is rather impossible, isn't it?

Moving on, it seems ironic to me that SMRT will be circumspect about installing expensive platform screen doors as they do not want to pass on additional financial burdens to passengers when they were not so circumspect when they decided to raise their fares to meet, if I'm not wrong, increased operations cost in the past.

Also, while I may be wrong about this, I think most Singaporeans will perhaps gladly have an appropriate increase in MRT fares if this increase is used to improve the safety of passengers.

1 comment:

Charissa said...

I share the same sentiments as you with regards to the article and the half-height barriers. In fact I wrote about it a post in october
http://charissaishere.blogspot.com/2006/10/one-more-mrt-suicide.html

I felt that their logic was overtly rational and lacked humanity. blah... it also seems like they are telling us that they are doing us a favor by not increasing cost and passing it on to us as higher fares.

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