Trials to help elderly and disabled at Outram Park MRT station extended until Dec 31 due to positive feedback


The Heart Zone and Heartwheels trials at Outram Park MRT station have been extended until Dec 31, due to positive feedback.
The Heart Zone and Heartwheels trials at Outram Park MRT station have been extended until Dec 31, due to positive feedback.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Two co-creation trials by the Public Transport Council (PTC) have been extended until Dec 31, due to positive feedback, the council said in a statement on Tuesday (Sept 19).

A tie-up with SBS Transit, SMRT and Singapore General Hospital (SGH), the trials - Heart Zone and Heartwheels - are being carried out at Outram Park MRT station.

Heart Zone is where fellow commuters and SGH staff guide disabled and elderly commuters from designated areas, to shuttle bus boarding points or other buildings on the SGH premises.

Heart Wheels provides wheelchairs for elderly commuters and those with physical difficulties.

The trials were launched on Aug 14 and were intended to last for a month. It had benefited over 1,200 commuters, PTC said.

The council spoke to over 700 of them and found that many, especially the elderly, felt that Heart Zone made their visit to SGH more convenient, and that they would like to see it implemented at other MRT stations too.

Those with mobility issues were able to move along the transfer linkway at Outram Park MRT station more easily, with Heartwheels.

The trial's volunteers also said they enjoyed helping fellow commuters in need.

Due to the positive feedback, the trials will be extended until the end of the year.

"The findings from these trials will be included in the recommendations of PTC's next Advisory Report on public transport matters, which will focus on the theme of co-creation," the council said.

"The strong support from our partners, especially volunteers from SGH Campus, has been an important factor for the success of the trials so far. The PTC is pleased to welcome more volunteers from National Heart Centre Singapore and Singapore National Eye Centre for the extended trials."

PTC chairman Richard Magnus said he hopes people will find their morning commute to work more meaningful, as they have the opportunity to do something good through a simple gesture.

"As we become more aware of fellow commuters around us who may need help, let us offer a helping hand through such platforms. We all share the same public transport space. By making small changes in our routine, we can grow a unique caring commuting culture in Singapore that we can be proud of."