TODAY, 3 Aug 2016, Doing business at MRT stations could earn you a fine
It is not uncommon these days to see people exchanging money and goods at MRT stations, often doing so across the fare gates so as not to incur any fare charges. SBS Transit, which runs the North East Line and Downtown Line, has reminded commuters that such a practice is prohibited.
It has put up notices at Beauty World MRT Station, stating that “no person shall for the purpose of any trade or business transfer any article or goods between the paid area and unpaid area unless the article or goods is taken by a person through a ticket gate”. Under the Singapore Statutes, offenders may be removed from the stations or fined a maximum of S$2,000. The long-standing rule seeks to discourage people from using public transportation for the delivery of commercial goods.
In a response to TODAY’s queries, SBS Transit spokesperson Tammy Tan said yesterday: “For commuter safety and security, we do not encourage loitering in our premises particularly at stations with high passenger flow.” She added that the notice was put up as the operator has seen “increasing numbers of commuters loitering to conduct what appears to be transactions on our premises”.
Lawyers told TODAY that there is sound legal basis for the ban. Compared with, say, a shopping mall, the human traffic is more concentrated at MRT stations, said Mr Amolat Singh from Amolat & Partners. The stations also serve a more essential purpose in comparison, he said. “The (human) traffic is very heavy, so that would have been in the minds of the lawmakers. The overriding purpose of the transit area is to facilitate public transport, for commuters to go in and out, not such unregulated transactions,” he added.
Noting that the exchange of parcels at MRT stations could be a security concern in today’s climate, Mr Singh added: “This must be becoming so rampant that the operators have to take action.”
Mr Jason Chan, director of Amica Law, reiterated that the station premises are owned by SBS Transit or SMRT. “They can impose any condition for entry. For that matter, the owner of any commercial building can impose conditions too,” he said.