The Sunday Times says

Put graciousness in priority lane

The Land Transport Authority's decision to roll out priority queues at all new bus interchanges and integrated transport hubs would be welcomed by the elderly, pregnant women and those with disabilities. They will be able to wait at designated areas near boarding berths, with the added convenience of having access to seats reserved for them. The creation of priority queue zones is an example of the incremental ways in which Singapore seeks to make life easier for the elderly and those in need.

Ideally, advanced social habits would have made such amenities unnecessary. In a gracious society, people would give way instinctively to those in need, without the need for administrative measures or the prominent display of signs reminding them to do so. However, graciousness is a work in progress. The LTA's decision extends to waiting areas the logic of reserving seats on trains and buses. Compliance remains good by and large, suggesting that commuters have internalised the need to accommodate the rights of special sections of the community. The elderly and others who benefit from altered social behaviour should be considerate in turn. They should not bunch up in busy areas to the extent of holding up the flow of passengers in a hurry.

Attempts to improve social behaviour on public transport have also included the creation of campaign characters like Stand-Up Stacey, Move-In Martin, Give-Way Glenda, Bag-Down Benny and Hush-Hush Hannah. Like other visible reminders to behave in public places, the aim should be to retire these from service over time. When acting graciously becomes second nature to residents, cartoons on graciousness will no longer be needed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 22, 2015, with the headline 'Put graciousness in priority lane'. Print Edition | Subscribe