Metal detectors and X-ray scanners went for a test run at Holland Village MRT station

Photo: Khaw Boon Wan / Facebook
Photo: Khaw Boon Wan / Facebook

Annoyed by the long waiting times going through intensive security screenings at airports? Imagine if you had to do that every time you get on the MRT. Or perhaps you didn’t have to if you were forced to undergo one at Holland Village MRT station yesterday.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) and train operator SMRT carried out a test run of tighter security checks at the station from 12:30pm to 6pm on Sunday as part of an emergency preparedness exercise. The whole shebang involved commuters walking through metal screening detectors and putting their belongings through X-ray scanners before even reaching the station’s fare gates. An extra, time-consuming step that might have irked commuters in a rush.

Photo: Khaw Boon Wan / Facebook
Photo: Khaw Boon Wan / Facebook

“Commuters were orderly and inconvenience tolerable,” wrote Minister of Transport Khaw Boon Wan, who graced the exercise. Nonetheless, he acknowledged that the low level of disruption was due to the checks being conducted at only one station during an off-peak period.

“Nevertheless, it would give us useful feedback on larger scale screening, should circumstances demand one in due course,” the minister concluded. A similar security exercise took place at Downtown Line’s Newton MRT station back in February.

As much as us fast-walking Singaporeans would hate going through such thorough procedures during our daily commute, it might be a reality soon enough. According to a joint news release by LTA and SMRT earlier this month, airport-style screenings at public transport nodes will be progressively rolled out in the near future.

“With the increase in security threats, there is a need for the authorities and members of the public to step up our vigilance, preparedness, and response to potential threats,” noted LTA’s Chief Executive and Chairman of the Public Transport Security Committee Ngien Hoon Ping.

Perhaps the authorities could take note of the overwhelming backlash one Straits Times Forum letter writer received when he suggested the installation of metal detector gates at all MRT stations.

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