By Sophie Hong
The wait for trains is now cooler and more bearable at Tampines and Buona Vista MRT stations, thanks to new high-powered fans installed by the Land Transport Authority (LTA).
The stations are the first two of 36 elevated MRT platforms that will have such fans installed from May through the first quarter of next year.
The project, which will cost LTA $2.9 million, was announced in October last year.
Of the 36 elevated stations, 27 will be fitted with high-volume, low-speed fans by Indeco Engineers, while nine will be fitted with jet fans by Puretech Engineering.
The fans will bring much needed relief to commuters who have been complaining of stuffy and poorly ventilated platforms.
The problem surfaced after half-height screen doors were installed on the platforms of the elevated stations along the North-South and East-West lines.
The doors were introduced in 2008 as part of the Land Transport Master Plan, and help to prevent people from falling onto the tracks.
The installation of the half- height doors at all 36 elevated stations have been completed, the LTA announced earlier this month.
Commuters agree that the doors are a necessary safety precaution, but complain that they obstruct airflow around the elevated platforms.
"It gets worse when the platform is crowded," said Mr R. J. Olaso, a 28-year-old graphic designer who commutes between Hougang and Joo Koon stations.
During an average five-minutes wait on Joo Koon's elevated platform, temperatures can rise high enough for him to perspire uncomfortably, he said.
Tampines resident Muhammad Fais, 25, an airline cabin- crew member, welcomes the fans. "Since the installation of the half-height screen doors, air circulation can get quite bad, especially on very warm days," he said.
"Commuters who run to catch the train would perspire even more."
An LTA spokesman told my paper by e-mail that the fans are being installed to "improve ventilation on the platforms and provide a more comfortable experience for commuters".
Meanwhile, SMRT told my paper that it is reviewing the compensation package for bus drivers.
"We are reviewing the basic pay, incentives, development and other workplace factors to attract and retain service leaders," said an SMRT spokesman.
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