The Land Transport Authority (LTA) recently launched the "yellow sticker" pilot initiative to cater to the needs of commuters with less visible medical conditions such as chronic pain and heart disease.
Commuters can obtain a bright yellow sticker at MRT stations, bus interchanges and TransitLink ticket offices, and use it to let other commuters know that they have medical conditions and require priority seating.
This initiative is commendable and I have some suggestions to improve it and promote it more widely.
First, the need for a medical certificate or doctor's letter to support the request for the sticker is rather restrictive. This may lead to additional cost and inconvenience for some commuters.
I failed to get the sticker for my son when I presented his Developmental Disability Registry Identity Card issued by the National Council of Social Service, even though the card clearly states that he has slight mobility issues. He was given one only after I received the LTA's written confirmation that he is eligible for the scheme.
I suggest that the stickers be freely available to anyone, without a need for proof of medical condition. The chance of ineligible people abusing the scheme is very low.
Second, the sticker is very small, with only the words "Excuse me, may I have a seat please?". It does not bear an official stamp from any authority. People will just dismiss it as a random sticker given at some events and will not take any notice.
The sticker should be bigger and also include words such as "I cannot stand for too long because of a medical condition" and "This is an LTA initiative".
Third, not many people are aware of this "yellow sticker" scheme even though it was launched more than two months ago.
The LTA should publicise the scheme in the media and at community events. Information on the scheme should also be included in the "priority seat" signs in buses and trains.
Lastly, I hope the general public will consistently demonstrate graciousness to seniors, expectant mothers, parents with young children and special needs people, regardless of whether there are any government initiatives to promote social graciousness.
Betty Ho Peck Woon