Yishun commuters had a bad start to the day again this morning after getting stuck in large crowds at the MRT station — the second time this has happened in a week.
The rush-hour crunch began at about 7am when three of the stations four escalators were offline, according to travelers. Only one escalator was working while others were already undergoing maintenance, backing up foot traffic and frustrating morning commuters.
“Uprising escalator had broke (sic) down again at Yishun MRT. Crowd control measure to limit the travellers’ entrance is activated. It is left with one escalator as another escalator is under preventive maintenance with no work done. Maybe waiting for spare parts or engineers,” @RichardJang wrote at 7:35am.
Photos and videos of the “human jam” posted to Twitter showed hordes of people waiting to tap their EZ-Link cards and go up to the train platforms. There are usually four escalators at an MRT station, more for those located downtown or at interchanges. Staircases and lifts are also available for use.
“Why do you need to maintain two out of three escalators at Yishun MRT station at the same time????” @Renceheng tweeting at operator SMRT. “Have you seen the amount of insane congestion that you’ve created at the gantry area?!?!”
A video tweeted by All Singapore Stuff showed a large group of people waiting in front of the EZ-Link gantries as jazz music played in the background.
“Major human jam at Yishun MRT again. 2nd time in less than a month!” the tweet read.
Inoperable escalators caused commuter congestions at the same MRT station just eight days ago on Nov 18.
Photos posted to the Hardwarezone.com online forum included an image of an escalator closed to public use with a note saying: “Escalator under refurbishment.”
Others showed an SMRT staffer trying to alleviate the crowded conditions.
“Anyway, today Monday around 7am+ total chaos, due to really BAD decisions. At one end, escalator down, only staircase, the other side both escalators were turned off (I think). Center has lift,” forum user Ideasmith wrote.
“For 30+ minutes I couldn’t get down from the stair area as more and more people coming out of trains and from downstair onto the platform … finally squeezed my way all the way to the lift and down to control room,” the person added.
The Yishun MRT station is located along the North-South Line, which is currently involved in SMRT’s first escalator refurbishment project since the MRT began operations in 1987.
A total of 233 escalators are being refurbished by manufacturer Otis as part of the project, which started in August 2016. As of May, only 54 were completed.
“Progress was slow in the first year of the project as Otis had to develop a customized refurbishment plan … Some refurbishment works may take longer than four months because additional issues are discovered only after the escalators are completely dismantled,” SMRT wrote in May.
The public transport operator aims to complete most of the refurbishments by end-2021.
SMRT had not responded to an email from Coconuts Singapore as of publication time nor made any statement on the matter via social media.
This article, Escalated Tempers: ‘Human jam’ at Yishun MRT station frustrates commuters, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!