Bus interchange rolls out free buggy rides and more

Senior citizens trying out the buggy service at the Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange on its first day of operations yesterday. The interchange will be in service until 2019, while the Woodlands Regional Interchange undergoes upgrading and an under
Senior citizens trying out the buggy service at the Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange on its first day of operations yesterday. The interchange will be in service until 2019, while the Woodlands Regional Interchange undergoes upgrading and an underpass is built to link the upgraded facility with the stations of two MRT lines.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
An electronic panel (above) which displays information on available parking bays for bus drivers, and an interactive bus guide for users to plan their journeys at the Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange.
An electronic panel (above) which displays information on available parking bays for bus drivers, and an interactive bus guide for users to plan their journeys at the Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange. ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN
An electronic panel which displays information on available parking bays for bus drivers, and an interactive bus guide (above) for users to plan their journeys at the Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange.
An electronic panel which displays information on available parking bays for bus drivers, and an interactive bus guide (above) for users to plan their journeys at the Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange. PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Woodlands facility unveils features to shorten waiting time and help people with disabilities

To help those who find it hard to walk long distances, the Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange is offering free rides on electric buggies - becoming the first bus interchange here to provide such rides.

After all, it is one of the longest bus interchanges here, at 0.5km.

There will be two electric buggies, which can each seat four people including a driver, to ferry commuters around.

The rides were among the features unveiled at the temporary bus facility's first day of operations yesterday.

It will be in service until 2019, while the Woodlands Regional Interchange undergoes upgrading and an underpass is built to link the upgraded interchange with the stations of two MRT lines.

  • FEATURES

  • FREE BUGGY SERVICE

    Two four-seater electric buggies to operate daily

    from 7am to 11pm to help commuters who require assistance to get to bus berths at the extreme ends of the interchange


    BRAILLE GUIDANCE

    Braille guides on handrails to help the visually disabled


    RAMPS

    Wheelchair ramps to link the interchange to the MRT station


    PRIORITY QUEUES

    Priority queues and reserved seating


    BUS GUIDANCE SYSTEM

    System which includes sensors and display panels to provide information on available alighting berths and parking bays


    INTERACTIVE HELP

    Interactive panel for passengers to check bus routes, updates on community events or even look for a job on a jobs portal


    STAFF LOUNGE

    Air-conditioned staff lounge for bus captains and staff


    CAMERAS

    Closed-circuit television cameras to help staff monitor bus queues

    Carolyn Khew

it is a temporary bus interchange, it also boasts various features, including those that shorten bus waiting times or improve accessibility for those with disabilities.

Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan, who is also an MP for Sembawang GRC, toured the bus interchange yesterday with grassroots advisers from Sembawang and Marsiling-Yew Tee GRCs.

Mr Tan Kian Heong, vice-president of SMRT Buses, which runs the temporary bus interchange, said efforts have been taken to ensure a smooth transition for commuters from the permanent interchange to the temporary one.

"Although the relocation is temporary, we aim to provide our commuters and staff with the service standards found in a fully operational, permanent bus interchange," he added.

Buses from the Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange make about 400,000 passenger trips a day.

The bus interchange has display panels and sensors to help bus drivers find unoccupied parking bays and available alighting berths more easily. This will minimise the time spent looking for these spaces, saving time for the drivers.

To reduce passengers' waiting time, cameras have also been installed so that interchange staff can monitor queues and ease the crowds by deploying more buses or those with more room, such as double-decker buses.

There are also features that will benefit people with disabilities.

These include pedestrian ramps that link the interchange to Woodlands MRT station, making it easier for people using wheelchairs to get around.

Handrails also have Braille guidance to help passengers with visual disabilities locate the waiting areas.

Mr Vikram Nair, MP for Sembawang GRC, said the features were introduced in response to feedback from residents.

"I'm optimistic about it," he said. "The old Woodlands interchange was very stuffy but this new one is more open, and there is more space for commuters to queue for buses."

Mr Tea Chap Chek, a 70-year-old Woodlands resident, said he would give the electric buggy a try.

"Such features are good. It is quite far to walk from one end of the interchange to another," said the retiree.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 13, 2016, with the headline 'Bus interchange rolls out free buggy rides and more'. Print Edition | Subscribe