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Bag checks and security screenings at Newton station along DownTown Line (DTL) on Sunday (4 February) (Source: SBS Transit Facebook page).

Six-months trial to enhance security screening at selected MRT stations

A six-month trial for enhanced security screening at selected MRT stations across all rail lines will be commenced from 12 November 2018, announced the Land Transport Authority (LTA).

In a press release on Monday (5 November), LTA stated that some commuters may be required to use a walk-through metal detector and pass their belongings through X-ray scanners, before entering the faregates as part of the trial.

It noted that screening equipment may be deployed at up to six MRT stations at any one time. Information obtained through the trial will enable LTA to streamline and optimise its security screening processes, and reduce the future impact on daily rail operations.

"We will also collect feedback from commuters and public transport operators to improve the effectiveness of future security operations and emergency exercises," it added.

LTA Chief Executive and Chairman of the Public Transport Security Committee, Mr Ngien Hoon Ping, said, "Our public transport system is a key infrastructure serving millions of commuters every day. We must remain vigilant against individuals who may be carrying dangerous items that can cause harm to the public. By the end of this year, public transport operators will also progressively introduce the use of handheld metal detectors in their security checks at bus interchanges and MRT stations.

"We will continue to enhance our security measures and ensure that the transport system remains safe and secure for all commuters," he added.

LTA also noted that it has been conducting emergency exercises to test preparedness against security threats. The next exercise, ‘Exercise Station Guard’, will be carried out with SBS Transit, on Wednesday, 5 December 2018 at the North East Line’s Hougang Station, from 10 am to 4 pm, which will be the third Exercise Station Guard conducted this year.

The authority said that during the exercise, commuters accessing Hougang Station will be directed to Exit A (near Hougang Bus Interchange) or Exit B (near Hougang Mall) to undergo security screening before they enter the station.

Commuters will be required to go through a walk-through metal detector, and pass their belongings through X-ray scanners, it said.

It is said that Exercise Station Guard is a regular exercise carried out with the public transport operators in line with the SGSecure national movement to strengthen resilience and security of the public transport network.

"Through these exercises, LTA reviews and validates public transport operators’ security measures, contingency plans and operational readiness in the event of security threats at public transport nodes," it added.

Earlier on 4 February, commuters went through bag checks and security screenings at Newton station along DownTown Line (DTL) 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.