If you’ve passed by Bukit Batok MRT Station recently and wondered if Singapore’s experiencing an earthquake, here’s some good news: we’re not.
On the other hand, the bad news?
The rumbling noises you’ve heard are from the MRT trains passing by the MRT station, and it goes without saying that having to hear earthquake-like noises regularly is a less than pleasant experience for anyone, even if you’re just passing by the area.
Now imagine trying to work there on a daily basis.
And for those working near the MRT station along the North-South Line, the loud and disrupting noises clearly seem to have become too much to bear.
Employees Working Near MRT Station Gravely Affected By Noise
Recently, a 76-year-old employee working at the nearby Bukit Batok Bus Interchange told Shin Min Daily News that the MRT trains produce earthquake-like noises whenever they pass by the MRT station.
The lady, surnamed Ye, complained that the frequency of trains passing by is even higher than usual during peak hours, and that she tends to get headaches from the noise generated.
She added that she even miscounts money sometimes when handling cash to customers and that the noise has affected her ability to do her job properly at her workplace.
Another 25-year-old employee at the bus interchange also echoed similar sentiments.
She shared that the trains arrive at the MRT station around every two minutes on Sunday mornings, and that the noises have gotten to a point that she worries if they are going to end up derailing from the tracks.
Apart from that, she also added that she is still able to try and tolerate the noise as she is young, but it might not be the case for other colleagues of hers who are much more older than her.
Loud, Consistent Noises Only Started Recently
Ms Ye also told Shin Min that she has been working at the bus interchange for almost two years, and that the issue with the earthquake-like noises only arose in recent times.
According to her, the trains passing by would generate some noise in the past, but the level of noise was still acceptable to her, and the noise back then was nowhere near what she has to put up with now.
In addition to that, Ms Ye revealed that the unbearably loud noises now last from 5am in the morning to 2.30pm in the afternoon, which amounts to over nine hours per day.
She also raised the possibility of the tracks being faulty, and said that this might be the reason behind the loud noises.
Noise Level Proved to Affect Hearing Over Time
When visiting the area recently, Shin Min reporters conducted a sound level test at Bukit Batok MRT station, recording the level of noise generated when trains passed by the station.
When a train travelling towards Marina South Pier station from Jurong East station passed by the station, the average noise level recorded over 15 seconds of it passing by was 82.97 to 84.55 decibels (dB), with the highest noise level recorded being 89.6 dB.
According to Shin Min, a train passed by the MRT station every five minutes on average when reporters went down to carry out the sound tests.
To put things into perspective, noises that are 70 dB and below are considered safe for your hearing.
Based on the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, noises over 70 dB may damage your hearing if the noise continues for a prolonged period of time, while noises from 80 to 85 dB may cause damage to your hearing if the noise continues for two hours or longer.
The CDC also mentioned that sounds ranging from 80 to 85 dB are similar to sounds produced by gas-powered lawnmowers and leaf blowers, and that a sound level of 95 dB is equivalent to the sound generated by a motorcycle.
When contacted by Shin Min, SMRT explained the importance of regular maintenance for the MRT tracks in order for the MRT trains to operate per normal, and for the tracks to provide commuters with a smoother journey.
It was also added that SMRT employees have since carried out sound checks at the MRT station and have confirmed that the sounds generated are within the noise limits set by the relevant authorities.
In addition to the sound test, it was announced that SMRT employees will also be conducting another round of maintenance work for the MRT tracks to further reduce the noise generated when MRT trains pass by the station. These maintenance works include sanding the rails in order to make them smoother.
SMRT then concluded its statement by affirming that it will continue to do its best to provide commuters with a safe, reliable and smooth form of commute, and expressed hope for individuals to provide the corporation with understanding as well.
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