Six-month trial of X-ray scanners and metal detectors at MRT stations to kick off on Nov 12

Photo: Khaw Boon Wan / Facebook

Be prepared for long queues and delays while commuting via trains next week in the name of enhanced security. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) today announced that a six-month trial will be launched starting Nov 12, when MRT stations will start deploying metal detectors and X-ray scanners at fare gates.

Not all MRT stations will have screening equipment deployed though — LTA assured that the enhanced security screening trials will only be conducted at up to six MRT stations (across all rail lines) at any one time. Thing is, LTA made no mention of which stations will see the implementations, presumably done so we won’t know which stations to avoid.

One can only imagine the pain of being hampered by having to walk through metal detectors and passing belongings through X-ray scanners, especially if the trial is being conducted during peak hours in the Central Business District. Not to mention the invasion of privacy when officers get to peruse through bags.

LTA will be collecting feedback from commuters to improve the effectiveness of future security operations, and we foresee a lot of angry messages being sent in.

“Our public transport system is a key infrastructure serving millions of commuters every day,” stated Ngien Hoon Ping, LTA’s chief executive and chairman of the Public Transport Security Committee. “We must remain vigilant against individuals who may be carrying dangerous items that can cause harm to the public.”

Ping also noted that public transport operators will be progressively introducing the use of handheld metal detectors at bus interchanged and MRT stations for enhanced security checks.

The move towards airport-style screenings has been an expected thing for a while now, considering that LTA has been conducting test runs of the system at Newton MRT station back in February and Holland Village MRT station in July. A third similar exercise will be carried out at Hougang MRT station on Dec 5 from 10am to 4pm.

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