Wednesday, 22 March 2017

'No Eating and Drinking' MRT Rule Begone!


Or, Maybe Not

For countless of times, the SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT) has drawn flak about the stringent and perhaps ridiculous MRT regulations. There would be too many grievances to discuss so I will stick to the ‘No Eating and Drinking’ rule as it also happens to affect us the most.

I recently met a bearded Caucasian man on a not-to-be-named MRT platform. Coolly, he sat down beside me, took out his McDonald’s corn cup and started munching on buttery corn kernels. “Oh my gosh,” I thought, “I’ve got to stop him before he gets fined.” So out of my compassionate Singaporean heart, I turned over and told him that he wasn’t supposed to eat here.

“I know.” Came the fast response.  His defense was that he was going to have an hour-long journey and he wanted to fill his stomach before that. The train arrived strategically (he was probably glad to escape the conversation) and as he placed a spoonful of corn into his mouth, he shrugged and told me, “It’s a silly, silly rule.”

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"No eating / drinking" rule in the MRT stations

Under the Rapid Transit Systems (RTS) Regulations, passengers who consume or attempt to consume any food, drinks, chewing or bubble gum in the MRT stations and trains are liable to a fine of up to $500. Offences may be compounded by the LTA to lesser amounts such as $30. This Regulation has been in place since the start of MRT services in 1987, to ensure cleanliness and hygiene in the stations and trains.

Most passengers comply with the Regulation of not eating and drinking in stations and trains. However, there is a small but growing group of passengers who do not. The number of Notices of Offences issued in 2006 was 301. This increased to 581 in 2007 and 646 in 2008. In the first 6 months of 2009, there were 281 offences. To put these numbers in perspective, there are nearly 1.5 million trips a day made on our train system. The percentage of offenders is low and most Singaporeans are considerate passengers who do not inconvenience their fellow commuters.

However, the operators decided to step up enforcement recently after a surge in public complaints against eating and drinking in trains. Let me give just one example. On 9 Jul 2009, Mr Loke Parc Sen wrote to The Straits Times Interactive, expressing concern that when a commuter was caught eating on the train, he: dared the SMRT officer by saying: 'Fine me; I don't care.' Seeing that these are the kind of characters they are dealing with, SMRT should show no mercy. Letting them off with a warning or a meagre fine of $30 is a slap on the wrist. I suggest they be made to feel the full consequence of their choice - a $500 fine.

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Woman defends decision to breastfeed on MRT train

A mother who was photographed breastfeeding on Singapore’s MRT has struck back at criticism, saying her baby comes first.

As reported by the The Straits Times, the photo showing Ms Cheryl Lee was taken by a passenger on Tuesday 14 March and has since stirred up the debate surrounding breastfeeding in public.

Ms Lee told the news site that she was on the way home after a gown and clothes fitting for the Mrs Singapore pageant when the incident occurred.

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A Satire: Child breastfed in full view of public fined S$50 for eating on MRT
A child who was breastfed in full view of the public has been fined S$50 for eating on the MRT train

This after a photo of the child who was nursing on his mother was taken and shared on numerous online forums, providing photographic evidence of the consumption of a food on the public transport system, even though signs on the train clearly warned that eating and drinking is not allowed and constitutes a violation.

An authority spokesperson said: “We had to impose a partial fine instead of the usual S$500 fine as a deterrence because the child was clearly eating a tit but not eating a fuller meal, like curry puff or noodles.”

“Commuters are reminded that eating and drinking on board trains are not allowed at all times.”

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Babies cannot drink on MRT trains?

I was watching the 9.30 news (which is supposed to really be news, and is nothing like The Noose!) and saw a news story about there being fewer people being caught eating and drinking on MRT trains.

You can find the web story here. But frankly, it does not convey the true absurdity and ridiculousness of the rule. The news clip did.

The clip showed an SMRT inspector asking at least two different adults, each with a baby or toddler in a pram who was suckling from a milk bottle (although one of them appeared to be drinking water not milk), to essentially cease and desist. In fact, the inspector was asking at least one of them to get off the train and go with him to the station staff room, where the baby could drink "in comfort".

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SMRT Regulations on No consumption of food or drinks

No person shall :
  • consume or attempt to consume any food or drinks while in or upon any part of the railway premises except in such places as are designated for this purpose by the Authority or its licensee;
  • consume or attempt to consume any chewing gum or bubble gum while in or upon any part of the railway premises.

related: Food and Drink in Trains and Stations

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No eating on the MRT,,,

A woman was fined $30 for having a piece of sweet in her mouth by an MRT officer. She broke the rule that disallows eating and drinking on the MRT.

But let me ask you why is eating and drinking not permitted on the MRT train? It is disallowed in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei but permitted in Japan. The reason for not allowing people to eat and drink on trains is they might drop or spill what ever they are consuming and dirty the train - it is not eating or drinking itself that is the problem but intentional or unintentional littering. The woman in the video has technically violated the no eating rule but the chance of a piece of sweet falling from out of a person's mouth onto the the train is zero. The officer enforced the law rigidly without any regard to the spirit of the law. I wonder if breast feeding is allowed on the MRT or they will go ahead fine the 3 month old baby.

This reminds me of the story about a family that was detained at the Changi Airport for saying word "bomb" twice. They were on their way to Australia for a holiday. The child asked the mom why people were made to take off their shoes at the security checkpoint. The mom explained that they had to check for bombs. The security officers who were trained to detain people using the word "bomb" twice heard that and the family had to miss their holiday in Darwin.

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Ignoring the spirit of the law: Woman fined $30 for eating sweet on MRT to relieve motion sickness

A lady commuter was recently fined $30 for eating a sweet during an MRT train ride to relieve motion sickness.

Eating and drinking in the MRT carries a maximum fine of $500. However in this case, common sense has been completely thrown out of the window in what is apparently a silly over-reaction by the authorities.

This is typically what happens in the civil service, Government departments, statutory boards, and Government-linked Corporations and service providers when unthinking subordinates blindly enforce regulations without regard to common sense due to intense pressure from their superiors to keep up appearances.

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Fine for eating sweets too strict?
SHE was feeling giddy & decided to suck on a sweet while riding on an MRT train

For doing that, she was slapped with a fine after she was caught by an SMRT officer.

Since last Wednesday, SMRT has been giving out immediate fines to those caught eating or drinking in trains and stations.

A RazorTV reporting team tagged along with 2 SMRT officers on patrol. 2 commuters were caught and fined for eating.

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Has anybody been fined for eating or drinking in MRT stations or trains in Singapore?

10 years ago I was a cocky little teenager. My then girlfriend and I would smuggle bubble tea in our bags and sneak little sips of it in the train. After many months of not getting caught, I began to think I was too cool for rules and stopped hiding the drinks in my bag. One afternoon after school, I walked past the control station brazenly holding a cup of bubble tea, and was about to enter the train when I felt someone firmly pulling me back. I turned around to see what the hell was happening and came face to face with the station manager staring at me with fire in his eyes. He literally dragged me across the platform to the signs that said NO EATING AND DRINKING FINE $500 and told me to call my father to bring $500 or he would be handing me to the police.

I begged him for mercy and made up some story on the spot about being a foreign student (yeah right) and not knowing the rules and how my family was not in Singapore and didn't have $500 so please let me go I will not do it again. The station master snatched my drink away, told me to get the hell out of his station, and never let him see my face again. I thanked him profusely and jumped into the next train, not daring to look back. For the next 6 months I took the bus home.

Of course, I now realize that the station manager was just teaching my punk ass a lesson and never intended to actually fine me. But he definitely could have. So morale of the story is, don't eat and drink on the MRT guys.

related:
Is it legal to drink plain water in the MRT station?
Why are there no trashcans in Singapore's MRT stations?
Why do the staff in MRT stations wear white gloves?
What are some interesting facts about Singapore MRT?
Would I be punished for eating nuts politely on the MRT?

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Fined $30 for eating sweet on Singapore MRT

A woman was fined $30 for having a piece of sweet in her mouth by an MRT officer. She apparently broke the rule that disallows eating and drinking on the MRT. The video presenter ends saying, "Nothing escapes the eyes of the law, including a sweet."

The reason for not allowing people to eat and drink on trains is they might drop or spill what ever they are consuming and dirty the train - it is not eating or drinking itself that is the problem but intentional or unintentional littering. The woman in the video has technically violated the no eating rule but the chance of a piece of sweet falling from out of a person's mouth onto the the train is zero. The officer enforced the law rigidly without any regard to the spirit of the law.

I wonder if breast feeding is allowed on the MRT or will they go ahead fine the 3 month old baby.

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FINED EATING AT THE CONTROL STATION INSTEAD OF INSIDE THE TRAIN
This is the offence paper that i got from the CSO

I was given this Notification of Offence by the Customer Service Officer (CSO) by the name of OMAN for eating at the Control Station at Changi Airport MRT Station.

This was how it went: I was eating all the way from the Police Pass Office at Terminal 2 walking all the way to the MRT Station eating my puff as I was feeling hungry. I was eating while on the way to the MRT station. When I came down from the escalator, I was still eating as I was thinking that I am not IN the TRAIN or ON the PLATFORM, so eating would not be a problem.

I HAVE NOT TAPPED my card YET so I can still eat RIGHT? cos the news and everything and that aunty which was caught eating her sweet: A lady commuter was recently fined $30 for eating a sweet during an MRT train ride to relieve motion sickness (see embedded video below).

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