Panel submits list of proposals to make buses, trains more inclusive

An advisory panel tasked with making public transport more family-friendly has made several recommendations, including stroller restraints on buses and apps which help parents locate nursing rooms.

Co-chaired by Public Transport Council chairman Richard Magnus and Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport chairman Sitoh Yih Pin, the panel had reached out to more than 3,000 commuters. It took 10 months to come up with more than 20 recommendations which it submitted to Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min yesterday.

These include allowing rear-door boarding of buses for people pushing open baby strollers; installing user-friendly stroller restraint systems; and training bus drivers to drive nearer to the kerb so as to make "stepless" buses truly stepless.

Buses should have space for "at least two wheelchairs or one wheelchair and one open stroller", the panel added.

It also recommended developing system maps and transport apps showing the availability of amenities such as nursing rooms, changing facilities and exits with a lift.

Also suggested - updating websites and transport apps to show scheduled and unscheduled lift maintenance; information on barrier-free taxi-stand and boarding/alighting points. All new taxi-stands should be barrier-free, too.

  • SOME SUGGESTIONS

  • • Rear-door boarding on buses for those with baby strollers

    • User-friendly stroller restraint systems

    • Space on buses for at least two wheelchairs

    • Quiet room at MRT stations and bus interchanges for those with special needs

Other recommendations include having a quiet room at MRT stations and bus interchanges for commuters with special needs, and building physical or virtual training facilities or a space "that allows all children with special needs to familiarise themselves with the transport system prior to travelling on public transport".

Mr Magnus said: "Achieving a seamless, delightful, family-friendly transport system is a journey that the commuting public will take together with the Government and transport operators, as partners in transit."

In a Facebook post, Dr Lam described the panel's report as "a labour of love". "I was delighted to receive its report on their recommendations to make our transport network even more inclusive," he wrote yesterday. "Singapore has invested much into the hardware of our public transport infrastructure... Today's advisory report on how to improve the heartware is very timely and appreciated."

Powered wheelchair user Thomas Teo, 29, said having more space for wheelchairs and strollers "is a good thing".

"I've encountered cases where the bus captain asks a parent to fold a stroller because there is a wheelchair user on board. Sometimes, they just don't care."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 01, 2018, with the headline 'Panel submits list of proposals to make buses, trains more inclusive'. Print Edition | Subscribe