Mar 20, 2014

    Use portable air-con instead of fans, SMRT

    I REFER to the report "The heat is on at City Hall MRT station" (MyPaper, March 18).

    I am a 66-year-old pioneer generation citizen who relies on public transport to get around.

    Both the City Hall and Raffles Place MRT stations are major interchanges used by many office workers and students every day.

    Over the past several years, commuter feedback on the stuffy air-conditioning inside these two stations has fallen on deaf ears. It is only now that SMRT has decided to replace the old air-conditioning units.

    However, SMRT's interim solution of providing large standing fans while the units are replaced progressively is ridiculous, as the fans are merely circulating hot air.

    If only top SMRT managers would go down to these stations, they would experience first-hand hot air being blown in their faces.

    The circulating hot, humid air will also help the common cold and influenza viruses to spread rapidly.

    Do we want our student commuters to fall sick just before an important examination? Will not more sick office workers further aggravate our already-low workplace productivity?

    When will SMRT managers develop a public interest mindset?

    Equally pathetic is SMRT communications director Alina Boey's statement: "We seek the patience of commuters as they bear with the temporary inconvenience while we work hard to improve their travel experience."

    What "temporary inconvenience" is she referring to, when the replacement works are expected to last some four months?

    SMRT managers should think out of the box and provide large heavy-duty portable air-conditioners for the comfort of passengers. This was what NTUC FairPrice did at its Marine Parade supermarket.

    I would urge fellow Singaporeans to overcome their typical "fear of speaking up" - to stop suffering in silence and be more assertive in exercising their consumer rights as paying customers of public services.

    As for our public servants and public transport managers, it is time they adopt this motto: "Try harder to serve the people better."