By Joy Fang
SINGAPORE - Communication problems plagued SMRT's Customer Service Teams (CSTs) tasked with crowd-control duties during the two major train disruptions last December.
These teams, made up of back-end staff from the operator's various business units, were also unfamiliar with the stations they were deployed to.
This was revealed on the ninth day of the ongoing Committee of Inquiry (COI) hearing, called to look into the disruptions.
Station manager Philip Lim, 49, told the COI that SMRT did not provide any communication devices to directly connect CSTs with staff at the passenger-service control in stations.
Mr Lim said the standard practice was for staff members to use their personal mobile phones to verbally relay information, or to do so in person.
He added that he did not have the mobile numbers of any CST members.
Mr Sito Wai Kwong, 58, a CST leader involved in both the Dec 15 and Dec 17 incidents, agreed that his team did not have a radio set and had to communicate using mobile phones.
He was not provided with the phone numbers of the station staff either, he said.
Mr Lim highlighted one issue he faced during the Dec 17 disruption that he hoped would be resolved.
CST members deployed to help train-station staff were not familiar with the station's layout, he said. During the disruption, he had to brief the teams on the locations of exits and facilities at the station, which took time.
"It will be good for them to familiarise (themselves) with the station beforehand, so that when they come down, they can be 'hands-on' immediately," he said.