Second Transport Minister Ng Chee Meng has announced at the 2017 Committee of Supply Debate, families will be allowed to bring open strollers on board public buses starting from 2 April.
Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the public bus operators stressed that their main concerned is the safety of children in open strollers.
However, on balance, they have decided to remove the current prohibition in response to feedback from parents and caregivers.
LTA also said that the move is also part of the Government’s overall efforts to create a public transport network that is more accessible, convenient and user-friendly for all, including families with young children.
According to the Authority, open strollers can pose safety concerns to the child inside if, for example, the bus’ emergency brake is applied.
Therefore, it stressed that parents and caregivers are responsible for their children’s safety throughout the journey and should abide by LTA’s guidelines for travelling with open strollers on buses. Parents and caregivers can approach the bus captains if they require assistance. If there are space constraints, bus captains may request for strollers to be folded.
LTA also noted that parents and caregivers can approach the bus captains if they require assistance. If there are space constraints, bus captains may request for strollers to be folded.
It reminds parents and caregivers that open strollers are allowed on all public buses.However, parents and caregivers are encouraged to bring open strollers onto wheelchair accessible buses (WABs) as they are designed for easier boarding and have more space available.
“They can be recognised by the wheelchair decal on the front windscreen,” it said.
As a general guide, LTA noted that the dimensions of the open stroller should not exceed 1200mm (length) by 700mm (width).
The Authority also stressed that if the open stroller is unable to fit through the doorway of the bus, it must be folded when boarding and alighting.
“Parents/caregivers are also encouraged to fold the stroller when boarding non-WABs for the safety of the child,” it said.
However, according to LTA, the ramp will not be deployed for the open strollers, unless necessary.
Parents/caregivers with open strollers should wait at the priority queues/zones at bus interchanges, LTA said, adding that if not available, they can wait next to the queues.
However, it reminds parents/caregivers that passengers in wheelchairs will be given priority to board the bus, followed by parents/caregivers with strollers and then other passengers.
Parents/caregivers with open strollers should board by the front door where possible. The rear door should only be used if the strollers are unable to fit through the front door or where access to the front door is obstructed, for example, by steps and railings.
It then stated that parents/caregivers who board by the rear door should alert the bus captain before doing so, and tap their fare cards or make payments by cash at the front of the bus.
If the bus is already crowded when it reaches the bus interchange/stop, LTA said that the bus captain may request the parents/caregivers boarding the bus to fold their strollers. Alternatively, the parents/caregivers can choose to wait for the next bus.
“Should the bus get crowded when the open stroller is already on board, the stroller is not required to be folded,” it said, adding that parents/caregivers with open strollers should alight by the rear door.
LTA also said that open strollers should be placed in the designated wheelchair space where available, with the brakes applied.
If the safety restraint is available on the bus, it encourages parents and caregivers to use it to secure their stroller.
The Authority also stressed that passengers in wheelchairs will be given priority to use the designated wheelchair space, noting that the bus captain can request the parent/caregiver of the stroller which is already occupying the designated wheelchair space, to give way to the wheelchair by folding the stroller.
“Open strollers must not be placed in the aisle or in any other location that obstructs the entry or exit of passengers, including the upper deck of a double-deck bus,” it said, and regardless of whether there is or is not a safety restraint, parents/caregivers are fully responsible for the safety of the child when on board the bus, and should hold onto the open stroller throughout the journey
To improve safety, LTA said that various Institutes of Higher Learning have been developing restraint systems to help parents and caregivers secure the strollers on board buses.
“A prototype will be tested on one bus from the second quarter of 2017,” it said, adding that the service number of the bus used for the prototyping will be announced at a later date.