Borrow umbrellas, power banks from SMRT

SMRT's WeCare shop will allow patrons to borrow a number of items for free. They only need to show their identity card.
SMRT's WeCare shop will allow patrons to borrow a number of items for free. They only need to show their identity card.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Commuters can soon borrow umbrellas, shopping trolleys and even power banks for free at a new shop run by public transport operator SMRT.

SMRT's first WeCare shop, located at the new Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub (ITH), will only need patrons to show their identity card before taking the items. They can return the things they borrow within three days, and if they forget, they will get a phone call to remind them.

The shop will be open on Sept 4, the same day the Bukit Panjang ITH opens for operations.

Bukit Panjang ITH will be the ninth such hub in Singapore, but the first to be operated by SMRT. It will allow seamless travel between the new air-conditioned bus interchange and the Bukit Panjang MRT and LRT stations.

The eight other ITHs are located in Toa Payoh, Sengkang, Ang Mo Kio, Boon Lay, Serangoon, Clementi, Bedok and Joo Koon.

Mr Tan Kian Heong, managing director of SMRT said: "We want to make sure people are not just here to board the bus. It is important for them to experience convenience and comfort."

The new ITH will span 6,800 sq m, which is slightly bigger than a football field. It will feature interactive kiosks, charging stations and braille plates in lifts and at the queueing areas, among other things.

The wall-mounted interactive kiosks have been programmed to display bus departure times and are also equipped with maps and directories for navigation throughout the ITH.

The screens will be adjustable too, making them user-friendly for those in wheel-chairs.

There will also be enhanced toilet facilities. Like Changi Airport, these restrooms have been installed with an electronic feedback system, which allows users to rate their experience and submit feedback.

Mr Jagathishwaran Rajo, 30, who lives in Jelapang Road, told The Straits Times: "I'm pretty impressed with the technology, because they have made use of whatever they can to provide better services for us."

Regarding the WeCare shop, he said: "It is something different. All of us are using smartphones, and nowadays there are few public phones available. If you have a power bank, you will be able to charge your phone easily."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2017, with the headline 'Borrow umbrellas, power banks from SMRT'. Print Edition | Subscribe