Screen-door plea after latest MTR station death

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 19 July, 2008, 12:00am

District councillors and a legislator renewed calls yesterday for the prompt installation of platform screen doors at MTR stations after the second fatal accident at Kwai Fong Station in less than two months.

Three separate groups involving five district councillors, a legislator and a dozen other people rallied at the station yesterday to urge the MTR Corporation to speed up the installation of screen doors at eight above-ground stations.

The project is scheduled for completion in 2012.

Some also demanded that the corporation expand the plan to cover all stations, including former KCR and Light Rail stations.

An MTR Corp spokeswoman said screen doors would be fitted at Kwai Fong and seven other above-ground stations before 2012. She said the doors were not suitable for platforms along the East Rail Line because their platform gaps were wider and more curved.

'We are studying a mechanical gap-filler system,' she said, without giving a time frame for the study.

In January, the government ruled out installing partial screen doors on the platforms of 68 stations along the Light Rail line, saying it would add to the dangers faced by passengers and halve the size of already packed platforms.

The councillors accused the MTR Corp of overlooking the safety of passengers and ignoring their concerns.

Disabled passengers suffered most from the lack of safety facilities, Civic Party legislator Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said.

'Screen doors are important to keep disabled people and the elderly away from danger and further tragedies,' Dr Cheung said.

He said there had been 10 train accidents involving blind people in the past three years.

Tsuen Wan district councillor Chan Han-pan, one of the organisers of a petition drive on the issue, said: 'It is worrying that there have been three [fatal accidents] in the past five months.'

Kwai Tsing district councillor Ng Kim-sing staged a peaceful two-hour protest at Kwai Fong station to remember a 75-year-old woman who died in an accident there on Thursday. She was hit by an approaching Tsuen Wan-bound train.

'It is unacceptable that the MTR Corp is proceeding with its original plan,' Mr Ng said. 'I can't imagine how many people will be hurt or killed during the four years before 2012.'

The MTR Corp spokeswoman said witness statements and a videotape appeared to show that the woman killed on Thursday had jumped in front of the train.

According to police, she had a record of mental disorder.

They said they were investigating the incident.

It was the second fatal incident at the station in just over five weeks.

On June 11, a 77-year-old man was hit and killed by an MTR train after he seemingly lost his balance at the edge of a platform.

He was dragged along the platform, injuring two other people.