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Was LRT cabin design a factor in my mother’s accident?

Last Friday (Nov 13), I received a call around 7am from an SBS Transit staff member, who informed me that my 66-year-old mother met with an accident at the Sengkang Light Rapid Transit (LRT) Station.

A Light Rapid Transit train pulling into a station in Sengkang in 2016.

A Light Rapid Transit train pulling into a station in Sengkang in 2016.

Desmond Loi Chin Wee

Last Friday (Nov 13), I received a call around 7am from an SBS Transit staff member, who informed me that my 66-year-old mother met with an accident at the Sengkang Light Rapid Transit (LRT) Station.

He told me that my mother badly injured her arm on the LRT and would be taken to Sengkang General Hospital (SKH) by ambulance. My mother was on her way to work in Sengkang.

I immediately went to SKH’s emergency department and was distressed to find out that the accident was more serious than I expected.

I reviewed the X-rays with the duty doctor. They showed that my mother’s arm was fractured in the accident and would likely require surgery.

This prognosis was confirmed by my mother’s surgical team in the orthopaedic department. They told me that she would require one or two metal plates inserted to her humerus, the bone of the upper arm, which was badly fractured.

She underwent surgery on Tuesday.

Based on my mother’s recollection, the accident took place when she boarded the LRT train. While it is unclear what exactly happened, her arm was wrapped around the railing attached to the seats next to the door of the train.

She recounted to me and the doctors that she was not pushed onto the railing by accident.

Given that many people, including seniors and young children, rely on the LRT to get around towns such as Sengkang, it is imperative that SBS Transit determine if a cabin design flaw was at least a contributory factor in the accident.

As an occasional LRT rider, I have always thought that the railings around the seats are a potential safety hazard, as they do not have tempered glass forming a backing or barrier, unlike those in trains on the North-East or North-South MRT lines.

It is thus possible for a rider to collide into or through the railings if he or she loses balance in the cabin for a variety of reasons.

This was a point that I made to another SBS Transit employee who called my mother on the day of the accident.

I requested that the transport operator review the footage in the cabin to ascertain the cause of the accident.

She promised to do so but, five days on, I have yet to receive an update on the findings of the investigation.

I hope that SBS Transit is undertaking the investigation expeditiously and will make the findings known to me as soon as possible.

Should remedial action on its cabins be needed, I hope that it would be completed as soon as possible to ensure the safety of riders.

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

Related topics

LRT Sengkang SBS Transit safety

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