1. Rail commuters at Little India station this afternoon may have seen SBS Transit officers putting up disruption notices when train services were operating as per normal. They were in fact participating in a ground deployment exercise.
2. This afternoon, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) carried out an exercise with SBST to validate the procedures in managing a prolonged train service disruption. About 380 personnel including representatives from LTA, SBST, SMRT, the Singapore Police Force’s Transport Command (TransCom) and Traffic Police participated in the exercise. Train service continued as per normal and commuters were not affected by the exercise.
3. Codenamed ‘Exercise Greyhound 01/2017’, the exercise went through the scenario where passengers on a train at Little India station of Downtown Line were trapped when a power fault occurred along the Downtown Line disrupting service from Botanic Gardens to Bugis stations. SBST then begin train to platform detrainment and activated its Joint Incident Management Plan.
4. During the exercise, SBST arranged for 10 buses to shuttle passengers between the stations. The Passenger Service Team was also activated to help affected passengers. To ensure an orderly queue, SBST used queue poles so that commuters can board the free bridging buses.
5. LTA, as the exercise coordinator, assessed SBST’s contingency plans in managing a prolonged train service disruption including its processes for incident reporting, train detrainment procedures and coordination of bus bridging plans and free bus services to provide transport service between the affected MRT stations. SBST was also assessed on their procedures in escalating security incidents should these occur at the station. In terms of public communication, SBST was tested on their procedures which included promptly informing the public through the media and social media channels of a train service disruption and advising on alternative travel arrangements.
6. Mr Ngien Hoon Ping, LTA's Chief Executive, said: “Even as we work on improving rail reliability, we should be prepared that disruptions can occur from time to time for various reasons. It could be a technical glitch or a security incident at the station but what is important is that when it happens, LTA and the transport operators must know how to respond from the onset. Such exercises are necessary to validate response plans and ensure procedures are in place to react quickly to an incident. We will review the proceedings from today’s exercise and share the learning points with both operators. We also intend to carry out another exercise in the second half of the year that will assess both SBST and SMRT.
7. Mr Gan Juay Kiat, Chief Executive Officer of SBS Transit, said: "Such ground deployment exercises are very valuable as they help us hone our emergency preparedness by providing us with the opportunity to test our contingency plans and make adjustments where necessary. This will enable us to minimise the inconvenience caused to passengers in the unfortunate event of a rail disruption even as we continue to put in further efforts to improve rail reliability."
New Train Service Disruption Signs
8. Arising from an earlier Exercise Greyhound, LTA also initiated a review of the existing train service signages and have worked with both rail operators to standardise the train service disruption signs at stations. Besides the signs, posters and leaflets distributed during a disruption will also be standardised. The new signs will progressively be put up at all stations from the fourth quarter of this year.