Train operator SMRT defended its staff's actions on Tuesday when as video of overcrowding of platform at the Lakeside MRT station platform on the East West Line went viral. The platform was overcrowded due to train delays which was not announced nor reported by mainstream news.
Joel Rasis had taken a video of people pouring onto the packed platform and bumping into others as they came up on the escalator. He said announcements had been made about train delays on the line towards Joo Koon and claimed SMRT ground staff did not tell people to stop using the escalator.
SMRT vice president of corporate information and communications Patrick Nathan's address to local media queries said staff at Lakeside were deployed to stop commuters from using the escalator, and they also helped to disperse and manage people at the platform.
"While the video shows that there was bunching up of commuters at the top of the escalator, it also shows station staff stopping more commuters from getting onto the escalator, and the escalator was stopped shortly after," he said.
He added that four of the six fare gates leading into the station were closed to reduce the flow of commuters into the station.
"Our station staff are trained to manage crowding at platforms and have commuters' safety as their top priority," he said.
Mr Patrick did not seem to have addressed the issue of overcrowding at the platform. SMRT launched a programme this year to have traffic lights at MRT stations to indicate that station have been disrupted or delayed with the use of "Green", "Red" and "Amber light".
Online reactions towards SMRT's defense have been largely negative.
Some noted that SMRT's statement did not address the root cause of the overcrowding,
Yes, staff stopping commuters at the bottom of escalator makes us forget about why the bunching happened in the first place.
A commenter on Straits Times, said that she finds SMRT's defense being lame.
"If your staff had done what you claimed, then how did this video came about? The fact that this happened (and captured on video), only showed that while your staff "may be deployed" in the manner described by you, but they had obviously failed and as such, it resulted in what the video captured. By insisting that the situation was "well managed", it is simply in denial and it is very disgusting. An apology for a 20/20 hindsight would had been a better press release..."
Another said that she was there at the platform and commented,
"I was there. Yes the staffs are there But, only at the bottom of the escalator. They ALLOW us to take the escalator. Pls lei, ppl are nt blind la. I agreed with Eric Wubai. And no there were No announcement made saying train service to pasir ris is delayed. Only to Joo koon. -.-""