Forum: Restore seats removed in newer train design

Non peak hours on the MRT on Oct 24, 2019.
Non peak hours on the MRT on Oct 24, 2019.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

I strongly support Ms Rina Tan Gek Hwa's call for more seats on trains (Have more seats on trains to cater to older riders, Oct 26).

In 2008, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and SMRT decided to remove a certain number of seats from some trains to help alleviate overcrowding, which is a problem which still persists today.

This has caused commuters a certain amount of disappointment, especially when Singapore's ageing population is only increasing, yet seats are at a premium.

Also, it is not only the elderly who need or want the seats, but also ordinary, able-bodied commuters like me, who would be grateful for a seat after a long, hard day at work or when feeling unwell.

Some may argue: "Can you not just bear standing for a while?" But this view fails to understand that even commuters that appear healthy can have invisible ailments such as back or leg pain and may not be able to stand for too long. You can see commuters rush for a seat when the train doors open, showing just how valued seats on the MRT are.

There are also those that wait for the unmodified trains just so that they have a higher chance of getting a seat, which is not guaranteed even then.

LTA's initiative to provide needy commuters with stickers (Sticker to help commuters signal need for a seat, Oct 2) may not appeal to those who do not want to attract unnecessary attention to themselves with a sticker or do not want to go through the hassle of asking for one.

Why not simply reinstall the seats which were removed? The benefits of restoring the seats will definitely outweigh the costs. Also, the provision of more seats - with elder-friendly arm and backrests - should extend to MRT stations, bus stops, interchanges, shopping malls and other public places.

Kevin Tan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2019, with the headline 'Restore seats removed in newer train design'. Print Edition | Subscribe