Daily commuter complains to SMRT on FB about 6-months delayed escalator refurbishment at Lavender station

On 1 May (Wednesday), a Facebook user by the name of Ryan Ong Yan Tong‎ made a complaint to SMRT on their Facebook page regarding their refurbishment project in one of their stations.

Apparently, Mr Ryan stated that he wrote in to get an explanation as to why the “the refurbishment of escalator in Lavender (ICA building exit) extended from April 2019 to October 2019 (an extension of 6 months) when the refurbishment project started in January 2019.”

He even attached photos of the project signboard which clearly indicated the original completion date to be April 2019; also specifying later on that the picture on the left was taken on 8 April while the one on the right was taken on 1 May.

He further elaborated that he commutes daily from the Lavender MRT and was “looking forward” to the completion of the refurbishment since January.

“However, to my surprise today, I realized that the completion date is extended to October 2019, which is a delay of 6 months from the original completion date,” he said.

“This means that it is taking the contractor 10 months to refurbish one escalator! I find this level of efficiency appalling and it also proves that there was never an intention to abide to the completion date given the 6 months delay,” he added.

Mr Ryan concluded the post by saying that he hopes to be enlightened about this issue through a response from SMRT.

“What caused the project to be extended by 6 months? Can we be sure that SMRT can keep its promise to complete the project by October now?” he wrote.

SMRT has responded to Mr Ryan’s complaint with a template response while netizens commenting on the post had mixed reactions about the issue.

Jimmy Seah replied to SMRT’s comment, requesting them to share the findings in the comments as “many of us who use lavender mrt station would like to know the reasons too.”

Others backed up his comment stating that this has happened before with other MRT stations whereas some were disbelieving of SMRT’s transparency, such as this comment by David Ho: “I cannot believe why always ask for personal contact to reply. Why can’t the Authorities reply here. These are public info and should be shared.”

On the other hand, there are a handful of Facebook users who were on SMRT’s side as they come up with justifications for the refurbishment problem. Jason W. Derek stated that the reason for the delay is the “need of changing cables, parts and materials. Sometimes there are difficulties which may delay the installation. If you want to finish fast. You make risk your safety.”

Mohammad Zikri was also one of the few in defence of SMRT: “If you think escalator refurbishment is easy, take up the job and go do it. The escalators have been there since the station was built. The projects usually take a long time because there are many checks and balances in place. Also need time to take out the heavy escalator steps. Do so fast and never check, freak escalator accidents are bound to happen.”

Still, Andrew Seah argued this opinion by saying: “Don’t use safety as an excuse. Extension of six months is too long.” Another commenter, Benjamin Ng, laughed about it and said that “all the computer generals” talk about this issue as if it’s easy to fix and that they should “go join smrt and fix la!”

Meanwhile, Patrick Chee feels that this matter of one escalator taking 10 months to fix is “a joke to other countries” and that this news should be kept within Singapore. He also mentioned that this has happened to the escalator at Seletar Mall and probably “many more that we are not aware of”. “Don’t make us a joke to the international community. Especially China can built building in Months.”

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