The Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced that it had studied the recommendations in the Public Transport Council’s (PTC) Advisory Report released on 1 August 2016 the importance of having user-friendly public transport and accessible for commuters with various needs as Singapore moves towards the car-lite vision.
LTA said that it would be working together with the public transport operators (PTOs) to roll out several initiatives to enhance the commuting experience for all, including families and those with special needs.
Family-friendly bus and rail network
LTA has been studying the implementation of a restraint system which will allow open prams to be safely secured on public buses. It would be collaborating with institutes of higher learning such as the NUS High School of Mathematics and Science and Nanyang Polytechnic to study the design of the system as there is no standard restraint system available in the market today.
LTA also said that during the design journey, the safety of the pram users, the child in the pram and other passengers on the buses, as well as the needs of other bus passengers, especially wheelchair users, will be taken into consideration. Once the prototype of the proposed restraint system is available, LTA will work with the PTOs as well as pram users to trial it on our buses.
A standalone nursing room which will come with diaper changing amenities and a wash basin would be available in upcoming bus interchanges and integrated transport hubs, such as those at Bukit Panjang, Outram, Sengkang, Shenton Way and Tampines to make it more convenient for parents and caregivers travelling with babies and young children.
All stations along the future Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) and Circle Line 6 would also have family-friendly washrooms, comprising a diaper changing station, child-size toilet seat and barrier-free facilities, alongside the main toilets in the unpaid area on the rail network. A nursing room and barrier-free toilet in the paid areas of interchange stations would also be provided.
LTA would implement escalators with a dual speed feature for all new rail lines starting from TEL during off-peak hours to address the needs of children and elderly using escalators at MRT stations. Escalators will be operated at 0.75m/s during peak hours and 0.50m/s during off-peak hours with the dual speed feature.
This feature would be progressively rolled out to the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL) during SMRT’s escalator refurbishment programme and eventually to existing escalators in North-East Line, Circle Line and Downtown Line stations. LTA is also working with both SMRT and SBS Transit to trial reduced escalator speeds at selected existing stations that are frequently used by children and the elderly.
New TEL interchange stations such as Orchard and Outram Park, which require some walking between lines, will also have travellators to reduce the amount of walking while making transfers.
By the end of 2017, LTA would be rolling out Priority Queue stickers at platform screen doors and passenger lifts of all MRT stations to cater to the elderly, pregnant women, persons with disabilities and parents travelling with prams.
All new and upcoming bus interchanges and integrated transport hubs will also feature Priority Queues. These would also be implemented at existing bus interchanges where space permits. These Priority Queues are demarcated areas where seniors, expectant mothers and persons with disabilities are encouraged to wait, so that they can be accorded priority boarding for their buses. Located next to the boarding berths, the Priority Queue zones are also fitted with seats for commuters to rest.
Review of bus and bus stop design
Earlier this year, LTA had embarked on a review of the design of our public buses. Two concept buses were presented to the public and feedback was gathered on a slew of interior features such as informational display panels, better seat comfort, lighting, USB ports and foldable seats.
Commuters have been able to charge their phones and mobile devices on-the-go on board ten new double-decker buses that have USB charging ports installed from 1 September 2016. LTA said that another 137 buses with USB charging ports will be progressively introduced from October 2016.
LTA would also consider introducing buses with three doors and two staircases to aid commuter flow and encourage commuters to move to the rear of the bus.
To improve the design of bus stops, including the design of seats, studies would be embarked to enhance about 800 existing bus stops island-wide, which are targeted to be completed by 2019.
More point-to-point mobility options for passengers with special needs
LTA said that it recognised the need for more point-to-point mobility options such as private hire cars to be made available and safe for passengers with special needs. Taxi drivers are already trained to attend to passengers with special needs as part of the Singapore Taxi Academy’s training curriculum. The Private Hire Car Driver’s Vocational Licence requirements would also require private hire car drivers to go through similar training.
Providing information through ‘Find-My-Way’
The MyTransport.SG smartphone application would be enhanced with a new ‘Find-My-Way’ function that would allow commuters to look up information on station exits, nearby bus stops and bus services to other MRT and LRT stations starting today. Such information will be especially useful for commuters during train disruptions, so they can make their way to operational train stations or continue their journeys via bus services.