360 bus stops to be made senior-friendly by removing steps, improving barrier-free access

A bus stop in Bukit Merah in 2017 (left) which had a step was upgraded in March last year to have the step removed (right). PHOTOS: LAND TRANSPORT AUTHORITY
Improvement works being done for the bus stop outside Block 46 along Holland Drive to make it safer and more senior-friendly. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - A total of 360 bus stops islandwide have been earmarked for improvements to make them safer and more senior-friendly.

This includes removing steps, adjusting the kerb height to facilitate barrier-free access and improving lighting, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Chee Hong Tat on Wednesday (Feb 9).

Where possible, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will also add more seats and spaces at bus stops for seniors and commuters using wheelchairs, Mr Chee wrote on Facebook.

The improvements to be made under the Bus Stop Infrastructure Enhancement Programme, which was first introduced in 2019, will also include weather-protection measures, such as screens to limit one's exposure to the rain.

There are roughly 5,000 bus stops in Singapore. Of the bus stops identified, 117 have been prioritised for upgrading as they have steps.

Site works started last year and the enhancements to these 117 bus stops will be completed by the end of next year.

While these works are ongoing, barrier-free temporary bus stops will be put up to ensure connectivity.

So far, 88 barrier-free temporary bus stops have been set up, with another 29 expected to be in place by the end of April.

The goal is for all 360 bus stops to be upgraded by mid-2025, said Mr Chee.

LTA in a media release highlighted several examples of improvement works that have already been completed, such as the bus stop opposite Block 28 Jalan Bukit Merah where steps were removed, the ground was levelled and new infrastructure was installed.

Similar works are also being done for the bus stop outside Block 46 along Holland Drive. A temporary bus stop was set up there on Jan 30, with upgrading works expected to be done by May.

In all, steps have been removed from 25 bus stops here so far, while kerb heights have been adjusted at three. Seats and a sheltered area have also been installed at an unsheltered bus stop in Siglap, LTA said in response to queries.

Other bus stops slated to be enhanced include one opposite Block 634 Hougang Avenue 2, one at Block 561 Ang Mo Kio Street 54, and one opposite Block 968 Buangkok Green.

Ms Karen Wee, executive director at Lions Befrienders Service Association, was heartened by LTA’s move to make bus stops here more elder-friendly.

With buses already designed to be more inclusive, doing the same for bus stops will allow seniors and the disabled to be independent and mobile, and make public transport more efficient and accessible, she said.

Mr Ng Choon Hwee, who is blind, said steps at bus stops are a tripping hazard and removing them will make taking the bus safer for the visually impaired.

“You have to climb up the steps to get to the bus stop and when the bus comes, you have to rush down to get on board. So it is really quite dangerous for blind people,” said the retiree, who is in his late 60s.

Mr Koh Juay Meng, chairman of RSVP Singapore, an organisation for senior volunteers, said the fear of falling when climbing up and down steps at bus stops is also a common complaint among the elderly.

He added that the authorities should also gather feedback about planned improvements and find out what commuters want before implementing the changes.

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