Priority cabins will not work on their own

An elderly man in a wheelchair inside an MRT train.
An elderly man in a wheelchair inside an MRT train.PHOTO: ST FILE

I applaud and appreciate efforts by the Land Transport Authority to help the elderly and those in need such as wheelchair users and expectant mothers (Trial of priority train cabins next year, May 26).

This is especially important as my generation is ageing fast.

However, as these priority cabins are not exclusive to people such as the elderly, I anticipate that regular commuters will still crowd these cabins.

So they will not make much of a difference.

MRT staff will need to be stationed at the train platforms and in priority cabins, to allow the elderly and those in need to board these cabins first. But I doubt this will be feasible due to a lack of manpower.

Educating the public to give way to those in need in these priority cabins is likely to reap few positive outcomes, based on what I have observed from other public education campaigns such as the ones on littering and graciousness.

Even if the elderly and those in need were to wear a badge that says "please offer me a seat", people will still pretend not to notice and be glued to their mobile phones.

There shouldn't even be a need for the elderly and those in need to carry identifiers. It should already be obvious.

I don't want to be pessimistic or put a dampener on a great idea, but, taking a realistic view of our inward-looking society, I sincerely doubt that these priority cabins will work on their own.

Susan Tan Lin Neo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2019, with the headline 'Priority cabins will not work on their own'. Print Edition | Subscribe