by TEAM MAY LEE
BEHIND Awana SkyWay’s effortless glide lies great effort, teamwork and precise maintenance – the responsibilities of Francis Lee, assistant vice president of the SkyWay operations and technical division for Resorts World Genting (RWG).
Lee handles both the operational and technical aspects of the cable car system, but it is the technical side, which includes safety checks and maintenance, that commands most of his attention.
“Safety is our utmost priority. There is no compromise in that,” Lee said. “When you follow the maintenance schedule strictly, cable cars are a very safe mode of transportation. That’s why we pay so much attention to it.”
Daily maintenance for the cable cars begins at 5am – screws need to be tightened and all moving parts examined to ensure their tip-top condition, with the crew riding the entire route to ensure nothing is out of order prior to opening.
Each gondola gets individual attention, as well, with five units of gondolas slipped off the lines every day to be checked in a special “gondola garage”, located behind the Chin Swee station.
There, a maintenance crew scrutinises every single thing, from the claws that attach each gondola to the line to the electronic panels within the gondola itself.
The entire system, from equipment to components, must be in line with supplier or original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recommendations before the gondolas are allowed to accommodate passengers.
While Lee is now an expert on all things cable car, he had a steep learning curve to tackle when he was transferred from the theme park management division.
The principle of general management is similar in any division, but Lee had to work hard to understand his new environment and pick up new techniques to complement the management skills he had honed.
One of the skills he brought over from his years of overseeing the RWG Theme Park was queue management. Long queues and overcrowding are one of the biggest challenges faced in both the theme park and cable car operations, which can frustrate customers.
To mitigate this, he used the tried-and-tested queue management system. This involves optimising queue lanes during low periods to allow customers to get to the platform quicker, then opening up additional lanes when crowds get bigger.
Lee explained, “We hope to educate our customers to be more civic-conscious and considerate. This helps the queue to be processed faster. We all need to work together, especially during heavy traffic, and the job of my team is to help manage that.”
The brand new cable car system runs smoothly and slickly, even during peak periods like long weekends or Chinese New Year. It is something that Lee is particularly proud of – to be part of an organisation that adapts to the demands of an ever-growing customer base by providing practical new solutions.