"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."
Singapore state transport operator, the Land Transport Authority (LTA), has begun a six-month trial of enhanced security scanning at a selection of MRT stations across the network. As a result of the new procedures some commuters are selected to undergo checks that were previously not in place, such as having to walk-through metal detectors and also put their luggage through X-ray scanners before being allowed to travel.
According to the LTA, the screening equipment may be deployed at up to six MRT stations at any one time, with information gleaned from the trial then used to help streamline future security procedures to prevent impact to commuter journeys. Feedback from the passengers themselves will also be collected, ahead of a planned roll-out across the city’s other modes of transport.
In attendance at one of the stations which was using the security technology, the deputy director of public transport security for the LTA, Joseph Goh, said that the checks were random and as such wouldn’t hold up people’s journeys. He added that officers were trained to spot suspicious behaviour and keep an eye out for passengers carrying bulky items. According to the Straits Times, most checks were carried out in 30 seconds.
In a statement on the LTA website, its chief executive, Ngien Hoon Ping, said it was vital to remain vigilant against the threat of attacks. “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.”
The LTA has said that it has also been conducting emergency exercises to test preparedness against security threats, with the latest – Exercise Station Guard – to include be carried out with SBS Transit, the bus, rail, and taxi and service, in early December. As with the latest security initiative, commuters accessing Hougang Station on the North East Line will be required to go through a walk-through metal detector, and pass their belongings through X-ray scanners.
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