New Choa Chu Kang bus interchange rides on smart tech

The new interchange has been designed to be inclusive, with closed-circuit TV cameras installed that use artificial intelligence to spot wheelchair users who may need help. The software can also learn to detect intrusion into bus bays, unattended bags or
The new interchange has been designed to be inclusive, with closed-circuit TV cameras installed that use artificial intelligence to spot wheelchair users who may need help. The software can also learn to detect intrusion into bus bays, unattended bags or people using walking sticks.ST PHOTOS: KELVIN CHNG
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong lifting up the wheelchair ramp of a bus during a tour of the new Choa Chu Kang bus interchange yesterday.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong lifting up the wheelchair ramp of a bus during a tour of the new Choa Chu Kang bus interchange yesterday. ST PHOTOS: KELVIN CHNG

Self-help interactive panels, CCTVs with artificial intelligence among features

Smart technology will aim to make commuters' journeys safer and more comfortable when the new Choa Chu Kang bus interchange opens tomorrow.

The interchange has been designed to be inclusive, with closed-circuit TV cameras installed that use artificial intelligence to spot wheelchair users who may need help.

The software can also learn to detect intrusion into bus bays, unattended bags or people using walking sticks, while sensors in toilets monitor air quality and alert staff when they need cleaning.

New self-help interactive panels will be based in bus bays, so passengers can alert the drivers if they need help to board.

The new features were showcased by SMRT Buses during a familiarisation tour of the 15,000 sq m facility yesterday.

The interchange has been relocated to the junction of Choa Chu Kang Loop and Choa Chu Kang Drive to facilitate the construction of the Jurong Region Line.

SMRT chief executive officer Neo Kian Hong said: "We tried to make everything as conducive as possible for commuters. We have also tried out new ideas... to make sure we can add value to the commuters."

 

SMRT Buses hosted the tour for members of the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH) as well as the Handicaps Welfare Association. It began when Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and Minister of State Zaqy Mohamad, both from Choa Chu Kang GRC, arrived at 6pm.

SMRT Buses general manager Raymond Chan told The Straits Times the self-help panels were the result of feedback from commuters. "Sometimes bus captains do not notice there's somebody who needs help," he said. "With the system in place, both parties will be alerted."

For one blind SAVH member, who gave her name only as Ms Liza, the assistance panels are a bonus as they feature Braille plates.

"Previously, some people would offer help to watch out for my bus," said the 39-year-old, who was familiarising herself with the new bus station "But when they are in a rush, they accidentally forget about me and I'm left waiting for some time."

Other amenities at the interchange include an air-conditioned nursing room, a ticketing service centre, charging stations and a WeCare Counter, where commuters can borrow umbrellas and power banks.

Mr Neo said staff will help to familiarise commuters with the new features.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 15, 2018, with the headline 'New Choa Chu Kang bus interchange rides on smart tech'. Print Edition | Subscribe