Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Another Day, Another Dollar
Asked why MRT train windows do not have emergency ventilation panels, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew's response demonstrates the laggard attitude about the life threatening event of a blacked out carriage jam packed with suffocating human beings.
Confirming the existence of a UPS (uninterruptible power supply) system that was supposed to keep the lighting and ventilation going on for at least 45 minutes, Lui said,
"Whether the emergency power supply... is doing what's it's supposed to do, whether it's sufficient, I would want to take a much more careful look."
This coming from a guy much photographed on site, posturing for the opportunistic photo op, trying his darnedest best to understand what the fish was going on, and still wants more time to read the used-by date on the backup batteries. While at it, how about flipping through the maintenance log, and do a quick check when they were last recharged? These are actions with immediate repercussions, as there are similarly equipped trains running everyday, each of which is another disaster waiting to happen.
We can understand it will take a bit longer to query why they bought Kawasaki trains assembled in China, the country that gives you spectacular smash ups like the recent collision in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang. Even Bangkok, with lowly paid parliamentarians, didn't stinge on public safety when they sourced their trains from the more reputable Siemens Transportation Systems (Siemens C651 were bought mainly to complement the existing Kawasaki C151 trains due to the opening of the Woodlands extension). Investigating sourcing decisions sometimes require the assistance of other agencies like CPIB. How long did they take to nab the flashy guy who scammed the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) out of $11.8 million?
Here's a heads up for the really difficult work about vibrations dislodging the third rail: take a hard look at the spacing of the rail mountings.