SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority on Monday (Sep 26) announced it is looking into several family-friendly initiatives as it looks to make public transport facilities user-friendly and accessible for commuters with various needs.
In a press release, LTA said it is collaborating with institutes of higher learning such as the NUS High School of Mathematics and Science and Nanyang Polytechnic to study a restraint system for open prams on public buses.
The safety of the pram users, the child in the pram and other passengers on the buses, as well as the needs of other bus passengers, especially wheelchair users, will be taken into consideration, it added.
Suggestions to allow open prams and strollers were raised at the inaugural bus carnival organised by LTA earlier this year, when the authorities gathered feedback from commuters on features they would like to see in public buses in the future.
"Once the prototype of the proposed restraint system is available, LTA will work with the public transport operators as well as pram users to trial it on our buses," LTA said.
Additionally, the agency said all new bus interchanges and integrated transport hubs, such as those at Bukit Panjang, Outram, Sengkang, Shenton Way and Tampines, will have a standalone nursing room with diaper-changing amenities and a wash basin.
On the rail network, all stations along the future Thomson-East Coast Line (TEL) and Circle Line 6 will have family-friendly washrooms, comprising a diaper-changing station, child-size toilet seat and barrier-free facilities, alongside the main toilets in the unpaid area.
There will also be a nursing room and barrier-free toilet in the paid areas of interchange stations, LTA added.
DUAL-SPEED ESCALATORS, PRIORITY QUEUES ON THE CARDS
Some of the other measures LTA is implementing to improve accessibility include escalators that can be operated at two different speeds, and travellators at new TEL interchange stations that require walking between lines.
The dual-speed escalators will be implemented in all new rail lines starting from TEL, running at 0.75 metres per second (m/s) during peak hours and 0.5 m/s during off-peak hours, LTA said.
This feature will also be progressively rolled out to the North-South and East-West Lines (NSEWL) during SMRT’s escalator refurbishment programme and eventually to existing escalators in North East Line, Circle Line and Downtown Line stations, it said, adding that it was working with both SMRT and SBS Transit to trial reduced escalator speeds at selected stations frequently used by children and the elderly.
There will be priority queues for the elderly, pregnant women, persons with disabilities and parents travelling with prams indicated by stickers at platform screen doors and passenger lifts of all MRT stations by end-2017, the agency added.
New bus interchanges and integrated transport hubs will also feature priority queues zones - demarcated areas next to boarding berths where seniors, expectant mothers and persons with disabilities will be encouraged to wait for priority boarding to their buses. The priority queue zones, which will be fitted with seats for commuters to rest, will also be implemented at existing bus interchanges where space permits, it added.
To increase transport options for passengers with special needs, the vocational license requirements for private hire car drivers will require these drivers to be trained to attend to passengers with special needs. Currently, taxi drivers go through such training, the authority said.
APP UPDATE FOCUSES ON TRAIN BREAKDOWNS
In the release, the transport authority also announced improvements to its smartphone application, MyTransport.SG, starting on Monday. The enhanced app will allow commuters to look up information on station exits, nearby bus stops and bus services to other train stations, it said.
"Such information will be especially useful for commuters during train disruptions, so they can make their way to operational train stations or continue their journeys via bus services."
In addition, it said it will be embarking on studies to enhance about 800 existing bus stops island-wide with possible changes including improvements to the design of the seats. The studies are targeted to be complete by 2019, the authority said.
LTA is also considering buses with three doors and two staircases to improve commuter flow and encourage people to move to the rear of the bus, it added.