Monday, February 28, 2011

Update (28Feb): Compromised Safety at the Universal Studios Singapore Galactica Rollercoaster

This morning I received a call from a Lady from the Forum section of The Straits Times. The Straits Times is an English language daily broadsheet newspaper based in Singapore currently owned by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). It is the country's highest-selling paper.

It was a very short call and she just wanted to inform me that they are considering to feature my story in their Forum section and will keep me updated.

You can read on the background of this entire story through the links below: 
27 Feb Update
Original Article

Incidentally, I received this email (see below) from Daniel Cuffe, Asst Director of Park Operations from USS. I don't know why but I don't feel the sincerity in his apology. First and foremost, a PHONE CALL would have been more sincere and personal since I did leave my mobile number with them. Plus, his lengthy explanation on how boarding requirements are displayed very prominently and that guests have their own knowledge of their own size comes across to me as if it was my fault, and the fault of those other "dimensionally-unfit" passengers as well, that we have been turned away due to our own neglect. If their measures have been so prominent then no "dimensionally-unfit" passenger will even get through the ride entrance and waste their time falling in line only to get turned away in front of a huge crowd. Furthermore, let's not forget the fact that I WAS able to ride the 1st time.

Extending my limited day passes to full day passes don't really make any difference as I have no intent to visit USS anymore or at least not in the near future. This experience has been traumatic to me to be honest. All I was asking for was a 1 ticket refund and it's funny (though predictable) how all of a sudden these new forms of compensation come up just because I wrote a complaint directly to the US office of Universal Studios. I appreciate his invitation to personally meet him but meet him for what seriously? Shouldn't he have met us when we were being held in that room for an hour while being forced the express pass on 1 ride? 

My previous impression of Universal Studios as one of the happiest places on Earth has been tarnished. Very tarnished. I appreciate that he sent out an apology letter but I seriously do not feel the sincerity. Though it is good to know that they are taking the letter seriously and will be reviewing their procedures. This is ultimately what I have wanted to happen anyway. 
Sent: Mon, February 28, 2011 6:09:38 PM 
Subject: Your Recent Experience at Universal Studios Singapore
Good Evening Mr. Abellaneda

Please allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Daniel Cuffe, I am the Assistant Director of Park Operations for Universal Studios Singapore.

I would like to personally apologize for the inconsistency in service that you had experienced during your recent visit to Universal Studios Singapore.  As a larger individual myself, who has previously been turned away from theme park attractions, I personally empathize with what you experienced on Saturday.

Thank you very much for your feedback. The entire Operations management team is taking your experience and comments very seriously, and we are reviewing our procedures to ensure that similar situations do not happen again.

We would like to assure you that the safety of our guests and team members is our top priority.  During your two experiences at Battlestar Galactica on Saturday, there was never a single moment where your safety was at risk.  If any single restraint is not lowered far enough on the train, the ride control system does not allow our operators to dispatch the ride.   This is an incredibly advanced system that we have added to the attraction, providing an even higher level of safety for our guests.

We do station team members at the entrances to most of our attractions as an additional service to our guests, to help with answering of questions and to provide information about the ride prior to boarding.  This is similar to our fellow Universal Studios theme parks worldwide. Health warnings, as well as boarding requirements are also displayed very prominently in front of each attraction.  In this case, the signs out in front of each of the Battlestar Galactica coasters state that “the ride vehicle and restraints may not accommodate guests with certain body dimensions.”  With any attraction that has requirements related to the size of its riders, we provide tools such as height check stations and test seats at the entrance of the queue to assist our guests.  Guests have the best knowledge of their own capabilities, size, and health conditions – and we provide all the tools necessary for our guests to make their own decision prior to entering the ride.

I understand that, during your visit on Saturday, our Guest Services Coordinator had offered you three complimentary passes to return to Universal Studios Singapore to allow you and your guests another day to experience the park.  I sincerely welcome the opportunity in meeting you in person and talk more about your experience, and, more important, how our Attractions Operations team can continue to improve our service - ensuring that you enjoy an amazing day at our incredible theme park.  These three tickets are valid for a full day admission to Universal Studios Singapore. 
Please let me know when you plan on returning to Universal Studios so I can make myself, or a senior member of my team, available. 

I look forward to welcoming you personally to the park soon!

Sincerest Regards

Daniel Cuffe
Assistant Director, Park Operations

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