SINGAPORE: Commuters in Singapore are generally prepared to accept slower journeys to allow time for the less mobile to board and alight from public buses and trains.
This was among the feedback given at public discussions on the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) Land Transport Master Plan (LTMP) 2040.
Releasing the findings on Wednesday (Jan 30), LTA said that since August 2018, it received more than 7,000 responses through its public consultation exercise, which also involved industry stakeholders, transport workers and academics.
Feedback was gathered through electronic polls, online surveys, focus group discussions and listening points set up by government feedback unit REACH.
LTA said 85 per cent of Singapore residents are willing to accept delays of one to five minutes to allow people like the elderly and wheelchair users to board or alight from buses and trains.
There were also many suggestions to improve infrastructure, such as installing more ramps and lifts, said LTA.
Some commuters suggested installing buttons at bus stops to alert drivers of oncoming buses that they need assistance. Others proposed having audio announcements on buses and at bus stops, as well as reducing the height gap between the platform and the bus or train.
TRIAL OF ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES
For a start, LTA announced on Wednesday that it will conduct a six-month trial of a new mobile application to help bus commuters who are wheelchair users, visually impaired or deaf.
As part of the trial, audio announcements can be available both inside and outside the bus, announcing the visually impaired to hear the service number and final destination.
For deaf commuters, audio announcements will be transmitted to them via T-coil enabled hearing aids. Bus captains will be given display units which will inform them if commuters with special needs are boarding.
The trial will start with bus service 139 which serves the Enabling Village at Lengkok Bahru, before being rolled out to service 141 which stops near the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped at Toa Payoh.
MORE BUS OPTIONS, BETTER CONNECTIVITY SUGGESTED
LTA said the trial supports one of the themes of its 2040 master plan, which is to build a more inclusive transport system for all.
Its public consultation exercise on the master plan also found that commuters want more bus routes, including more express services and on-demand bus options.
There were also calls to increase the frequency of buses, and to improve the accuracy of arrival times displayed in smartphone applications.
READ: ‘45-minute city, 20-minute towns’: Advisory panel outlines vision for Land Transport Master Plan 2040
On the MRT system, there were suggestions for express services as well as more train stations.
Commuters called for an expansion of sheltered walkways to cover residential developments further from train stations. Cyclists and active mobility device users, on the other hand, asked for more dedicated cycling paths.
By 2040, about 95 per cent of Singapore residents expect to spend less than 45 minutes to travel between their homes and workplaces, and less than 20 minutes from home to neighbourhood centres, said LTA.
The findings will be handed to the LTMP advisory panel, headed by Senior Minister of State for Transport Janil Puthucheary. The panel will submit its recommendations to the Government by the middle of next month.