Council makes recommendations to improve public transport
In its first advisory report, the Public Transport Council introduced a slew of recommendations to improve public transport.
A jerky bus ride may seem like a small concern to some commuters.
But put this in the context of the 7.9 million daily passenger trips, and the problem becomes significant, said Public Transport Council (PTC) chairman Richard Magnus.
A list of 17 recommendations were introduced by the PTC in an advisory report, Commuters@Heart of Singapore's Public Transport System, released yesterday.
"The recommendations can truly make a difference to commuters' journeys if the relevant stakeholders consider them for implementation," Mr Magnus told reporters.
This is PTC's first advisory report ever since it took on the role of advising Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan this year on improving public transport.
From last December to June this year, the PTC sought views of some 2,600 commuters through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and face-to-face surveys.
The PTC also monitored more than 500,000 conversation threads and sentiments about public transport in both local mainstream and social media.
Some commuter concerns were integrated with views of the public transport frontline staff. For instance, a bus ride is jerky because drivers need time to get used to the bus models. They drive two to three models every day.
To improve on this issue, some operators now use a telematics system installed on buses to monitor how well or smoothly it is driven.
Half of PTC's recommendations involve making public transport friendlier for families, seniors and wheelchair users.
Some, like providing assistance to wheelchair users, can be implemented fairly quickly if approved, said PTC's chief executive Alvin Chia.
But those that involve design may take longer as the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will study the recommendations before incorporating them, he said.
Adding that commuters can do their part by being considerate and empathetic, Mr Chia asked for patience as the Government works towards a better transport system.
But not every concern raised in the advisory report can be addressed, said Mr Khaw, who received the report last week.
In a blog post yesterday, the Transport Minister wrote: "Not all wishes that were expressed to PTC can be fulfilled because what one person wants may contradict with another person's aspiration.
"But we should do our best to reach a fair compromise."
Mr Khaw also reiterated Mr Magnus' view that commuter concerns, no matter how small, do matter.
"As the PTC puts it, it is the small things which make a difference between a good transport system and a great transport experience.
"We have a good public transport system, but our job is to make the journey great too."
You can read the full report at www.ptc.gov.sg
Some of PTC's suggestions
- Make public transport more family-friendly. For example, review policy on open strollers on buses to reduce the burden on parents travelling alone, and introduce more diaper-changing stations in both female and male toilets
- Incorporate travellators at MRT interchanges to make long walks between transfers less taxing for the elderly
- Reduce escalator speeds at stations that have many elderly commuters, or are near hospitals
- Train taxi drivers in disability etiquette, such as sensitivity towards wheelchair-using commuters
- Provide information like the next and final bus stops, and real-time information on train disruptions on screens in buses
- Play videos on what to do during train disruptions on screens at MRT platforms
- Build bus stops that ensure more space for commuters to move, and shield them from both sun and rain
- Shelter seats can be wider and flatter, compared to the current bumrests.
- Seats with arm and back rests at bus stops would help seniors sit down and get up more easily
- Design buses that encourage commuters to move to the back, like having a third rear exit
- Incorporate messages to show courtesy and understanding to frontline staff in existing graciousness or kindness campaigns