Safe distancing on public transport to 'largely remain in place' after COVID-19 circuit breaker ends

Safe distancing on public transport to 'largely remain in place' after COVID-19 circuit breaker ends

Commuters wearing face masks on an MRT train in Singapore, March 18, 2020.
Commuters wearing face masks on an MRT train in Singapore, March 18, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Catherine Lai)

SINGAPORE: Safe distancing measures on public transport will “largely remain in place” even after the COVID-19 “circuit breaker” measures are lifted and commuter traffic returns.

In a written answer on Monday (May 4), Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan told Parliament that all commuters will still have to wear masks when using public transport after the end of the circuit breaker on Jun 1.

“Mask-wearing is also the practice in mass rapid transit systems in Taipei, Hong Kong and Seoul,” said Mr Khaw in response to a question from MP for Tampines GRC Cheng Li Hui.

READ: COVID-19: Additional safe distancing measures implemented on public transport

Mr Khaw acknowledged that it will be “very challenging” to implement safe distancing measures on public transport once the circuit breaker period ends, especially during peak periods.

“It will therefore be very important for companies to continue to implement staggered working hours and maintain their telecommuting practices as much as possible,” Mr Khaw said.

“Commuters can also play their part to minimise discretionary travel and to travel during off-peak hours when the trains and buses are less crowded.”

Safe distancing stickers on MRT trains (6)
Safe distancing stickers, seen on MRT seats on Apr 9, 2020. (Photo: CNA Reader)

He noted that all trains, buses, train stations, bus interchanges and bus stops have been marked with safe distancing stickers, where practical, during the circuit breaker period.

These stickers mark out seats that should be avoided and where commuters should stand on public transport.

Public transport operators’ transport ambassadors and bus captains are also working with enforcement officers from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to help commuters maintain a safe distance from one another.

“Errant commuters may be refused entry or asked to leave. Offenders will face fines or prosecution in court,” Mr Khaw said.

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Source: CNA/mi

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