Interview with local transport expert

Assistant Professor (SUTD), Lynette Cheah, shares her views on PTC’s recommendations in the Advisory Report:

“I’ve seen the Advisory Report. It’s the first one published by PTC and I’m quite encouraged by it, given how widely they’ve cast this study to look at different stakeholders and accounting for both expert views as well as different commuter groups. I appreciate that because they’ve gone down to the details of what people need. For example, for the elderly commuters, they are interested in getting arm rests for the bus stops just so that they will be able to get off their seats easily. I think little thoughts like these are necessary and very considerate if we actually get to implement them. To me, it’s a progression of the transportation system, as we have developed it so well so far, to not just provide the hardware to make sure that the buses and MRTs and taxis flow well, but also the ‘heartware’ and the little things that matter to the commuters. I congratulate the PTC in this regard.

The first report actually resonates quite well with a study that we have done called ‘The Future of Transportation’ which looks at future urban mobility for Singapore in year 2040. In that process, we also consulted with different focus groups and get some discussions going on what are the ideals of commuters in the future. I think there are some parallels here, some concerns about things like comfort or reliability and so on, so I think that this is a very interesting follow-up report.”

Here is an excerpt from the Advisory Report referenced by Lynette Cheah:

Good public transport design revolves around the commuter. Increasingly, attention is being paid to the aesthetic design of infrastructure and facilities of the Singapore public transport system. This has not gone unnoticed by commuters, who appreciate these changes. At the same time, aesthetics must also be matched with functionality. Good design enhances journey comfort and convenience while providing commuters with ease of way-finding. Rather than overhaul our current bus stop designs or signage, our recommendations are meant to be considered for new bus stop designs or when older signs are due for replacement.

Commuters suggest that some bus stop designs could be more commuter-friendly, to cater especially to rush hours and to allow queues to be formed for bus boarding. Commuters who run to catch the bus may sometimes have to navigate through bollards, pillars and narrow spaces (between bollards and seats), which prevent smooth access. Some bus stops do not provide adequate shelter from the rain, while others have transparent roofs that do not protect commuters from the hot sun. Another aspect for review is the design of seats at the bus stop. Tilted bum-rests pose a challenge, especially for seniors.

“Seats are a problem. Not comfortable to sit. Seats are inclined…prevents people from sitting properly. Sometimes when you need to rest on the seat and the floor is slippery, you may fall…I thought it can be better constructed; with back rest and proper seating.”

Working adult, male

For future bus stops, to enhance comfort, seats can be wider and flatter, compared to the current bum-rests. In addition, seats with arm and back rests would also help seniors sit down and get up more easily. Especially at high human traffic bus stops, consideration can also be taken to ensure more space is available for commuters to move. For example, these bus stops can adopt a design similar to the new bus stops along the Downtown Line 2 stations, and selected North East Line and Circle Line stations, which commuters like. These new bus stop designs allow commuters to board the bus without getting wet and also shield them from the sun. As part of LTA’s review of bus stop design, PTC recommends that these issues be considered.

For the full report, click here.

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