KUALA LUMPUR: Prasarana Malaysia Bhd has taken steps to firm up the standard operating procedures (SOP) for the fully automated LRT system following last month's crash, says acting group president and acting CEO Datin Norlia Noah.
She said these steps are related to the security system, operations, staffing, and rail maintenance and are on top of international standards and existing SOPs.
“We are reviewing on a comprehensive basis the structure, process and compliance to safety, access to the track, communications protocol, and so on so that the measures for improvement over the short-term can be implemented.
"The SOP to mitigate against disruptions to communications between the OCC (operations control centre) and trains that had to be driven manually has also been tightened immediately," she said in a statement on Friday (June 11)
Other immediate improvements done by Prasarana include assigning two train drivers - known as hostlers - to move any train that needs to be manually driven in tunnels or stretches between the Pasar Seni and Damai stations.
Secondly, the OCC and hostlers must ensure the train is headed in the right direction before starting the journey, without any hint of doubt.
Thirdly, there will now be a greater distance or separation between the two trains when at least one is driven manually, with the speed of manually-driven train capped at 20kph.
She also said that some form of mini Emergency Response Preparedness (ERP) training will be conducted every Sunday evening, adding that the focus will be on retrieving malfunctioned trains as well as driving them in the manual mode in confined areas like tunnels and viaducts.
Norlia said that this will be done so that personnel are thoroughly familiar with the protocols.
"These mini-ERP exercises have actually been done a long time ago, with various emphasis tailored to situational demands as well as different forms of emergencies. Going forward, the training will be coordinated with authorities such as the police, the Fire and Rescue Department, and the Civil Defence Force of Malaysia to elevate the knowledge and skill sets during emergencies in confined areas, based on tightened SOPs," said Norlia.
Other than this, the training for hostlers will be improved, with upskilling and certification to be introduced to ensure the workforce remains efficient, current, and competent.
"Prasarana will provide periodic updates on the implementation of the betterment measures, especially on the immediate measures, in order to restore public confidence in the LRT Kelana Jaya line, which is a very important service for urban folk," she added.
She also said that these steps are in line with the five proposals for improvement to be executed over the next three months to firm up the SOP for the fully automated LRT system.
Norlia also said that Prasarana again expressed remorse over last month's collision between two trains on the LRT Kelana Jaya line.
"On behalf of the board and the workforce of Prasarana, we apologise to the country as well as to our passengers for this incident, ” she said.
"We are saddened at this incident that has put a blemish on the Kelana Jaya line's clean record for the past 23 years, and receive with an open heart the preliminary findings of the report presented," said Norlia.
On May 24, two trains - an off-service train driven manually and another carrying passengers running in fully-automated mode - collided head-on in the tunnel between the Kampung Baru and KLCC stations.
An incident investigation committee chaired by Transport Ministry secretary-general Datuk Isham Ishak completed its report and handed it to the Cabinet on June 9.
The committee concluded that several factors had led to the accident, among them, the failure of clear communication between the driver or hostler of the off-service train and OCC before the passenger-carrying train was released from the KLCC station.
The accident investigation committee's report also listed 23 areas of rectification or concern for systemic improvement, and the Transport Ministry will audit subsequent progress periodically.
Commenting on the report, Norlia said the OCC and hostler initially complied with the SOP.
"However, the combination of spotty (unstable) radio communications (between the two parties) as well as service delays put pressure on them to move the manually driven train as soon as possible, and this indirectly became a source of the failure to fully comply with the SOP," said Norlia.
Elsewhere, Prasarana added that to date, 73 passengers had come forward to receive the goodwill payment that it is giving out to those affected by the accident.
Those who want more information can contact its crisis hotline at 014-737 1330 or email@example.com.