Singapore Budget 2015: $4 million to improve transport for persons with disabilities

SINGAPORE - Those with disabilities can look forward to more dedicated transport services to community care centres or to special education schools with the Government giving $4 million in grants to three transport operators.

The grants will go towards defraying the cost of purchasing and retrofitting 33 new vans or buses.

This will increase the capacity of the transport operators to serve persons with disabilities and enable the operators to achieve better efficiency and standards, said the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF). Operators have also committed to keeping fares affordable, the MSF added.

The Enabling Masterplan 2012-2016 set out the need for dedicated transport to cater to moderate to severely disabled commuters who either require customised or motorised wheelchairs, and/or display challenging behaviour.

The three operators are Handicaps Welfare Association, EK Ang Trading and Transport and Silveray, which were selected based on their knowledge of working with persons with disabilities, service standards, training and safety standards, business model and proposed fees.

All three have already been providing transport services to persons with disabilities.

Users of these operators' services may be eligible for transport subsidies from the MSF.

Other recent efforts to improve transport options for persons with disabilities include the funding of a wheelchair-accessible taxi fleet, introduction of public transport concessions and introduction of transport subsidies for those taking transport and taxis arranged by voluntary welfare organisations (VWO).

So far, more than 10,000 persons with disabilities have benefitted from the public transport concession introduced last year and 3,000 have been helped by the VWO transport subisidies.

kxinghui@sph.com.sg