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More inclusive initiatives such as priority cabins in trains will be rolled out to improve the commuting experience of the handicapped.

09 Mar 2020 | Local News : Singapore



More inclusive initiatives such as priority cabins in trains, booster seats in taxis, and an app for wheelchair users and the visually impaired will be rolled out to improve the commuting experience.

SMRT will progressively roll out folding booster seats to its 2,800-taxi fleet
Announcing these measures on 5 March 2020, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Baey Yam Keng said it is even more important during difficult periods - like the ongoing coronavirus outbreak - that "no one is left behind".

SMRT began a six-month trial on 5 March 2020 to progressively roll out folding booster seats to its 2,800-taxi fleet to improve the safety of children below 1.35m in height.

It is the first taxi operator to offer such a service, which SMRT Roads Senior Vice-President Tony Heng said is meant to reduce 'road risk factors' and give parents peace of mind during longer taxi journeys.

While the use of booster seats in taxis is currently not compulsory, it is recommended for young children, said a Land Transport Authority (LTA) Spokesman, who added it is open to working with other taxi companies on such an initiative.

The two centre cabins in each NEL train will be designated priority cabins for expectant mothers, wheelchair users and people with disabilities
ComfortDelGro, the largest taxi operator here, told The Straits Times it plans to launch a booster seat trial, and is working with LTA on the details. Priority cabins will also be launched on the North East Line (NEL) at the end of this year, in a year-long trial.

The two centre cabins in each six-carriage NEL train will be designated priority cabins for commuters such as seniors, expectant mothers, wheelchair users, people with disabilities and parents with young children.

The two cabins were chosen for their proximity to platform lifts in most NEL stations, and will have signs to encourage commuters to let vulnerable commuters board and alight first. Commuters will also be urged to give up their seats to those who need them more, and keep wheelchair spaces free.

In addition, a trial for an app which assists wheelchair users and visually impaired commuters in taking buses will run for another three years. It will be expanded to all buses on services 139 and 141, which serve the Enabling Village in Bukit Merah and the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped in Toa Payoh respectively.

A trial for an app which assists wheelchair users and visually impaired commuters will also run for another three years
The Mavis app - Mobility Assistance for the Visually Impaired and Special Users - lets users alert bus captains that commuters with special needs will be boarding or alighting and allows visually impaired passengers to activate audio announcements at their boarding bus stop to alert them to their buses arriving.

Meanwhile, Mr. Baey said a Caring SG Commuters Committee will be formed to encourage civic-mindedness among commuters.

Ms. Adi Woon, 55, who works in the publishing industry, welcomed the priority cabins. But she also questioned if they would exacerbate the crowding on the NEL during peak hours. She noted many commuters transfer to the NEL from the Circle Line, which contributes to the peak-hour crunch.

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