Commuters went through bag checks and security screenings at Newton station along DownTown Line (DTL) on Sunday (4 February) in the largest emergency preparedness exercise at an MRT station here to date.
The eight-hour drill took place from 10 am to 6 pm, which was jointly conducted by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SBS Transit.
Some 60 security personnel were involved in total and there were around 10,000 commuters were checked during this period.
The drill was called to be an “Exercise Station Guard 2018”, which was aimed to test out SBS Transit’s security measures and ground implementation plans at public transport nodes during periods of heightened security threats.
Mr Joseph Goh, Deputy Director (Public Security), LTA, said, “It is also to sensitise commuters to the possibility of bag checks and to factor in additional travel time in the event of a security threat.”
During the exercise, the fare gates at Exit C of the Downtown Line at Newton MRT station were closed. Commuters were then directed to the fare gates near Exit A, where they underwent security screening.
Commuters then were asked to put their belongings and baggage on trays to be scanned by X-ray machines. The commuters were also asked to pass through metal detector frames before entering the fare gates.
The high volume of commuters passing through Newton station was one of the reasons why it was chosen as the venue for the first exercise this year.
According to Mr Goh, approximately 1,500 to 1,600 commuters pass through the fare gates at Exit A of the Downtown Line at Newton station every hour, adding that the checks were estimated to take between eight to 10 minutes for every passenger.
Last year in March, transport operators have conducted similar exercises, such as Exercise Greyhound 01/2017 at Little India station, which involved a mock power fault resulting in passengers being evacuated to the station platforms.
Leading up to Sunday’s exercise, the LTA had informed commuters through press releases, notices and their social media platforms.
LTA advised commuters to avoid carrying large bags and to cater for additional travel time to factor in security screening.
SBS Transit Facebook page posted pictures of the exercise.