Sep 04, 2014

    Foldable seats on MRT not the way

    I REFER to the article, "The ez way to help senior citizens beat seat hoggers" (My Paper, Sept 2), about the Tap 'N' Sit chair developed by a group of students from Nanyang Technological University.

    While the idea is good, it is impractical and will result in underutilisation of the seats.

    This is because the reserved seats in MRT trains are meant for more than just the elderly.

    In fact, the project's details posted online mention that "in the current Mass Rapid Transit, the priority seats are mainly for four categories of people: the handicapped, pregnant women, the elderly and passengers with children".

    If the seat can be activated only through the use of a senior citizen's ez-link card, the people in the other three categories would be unable to use it.

    Giving special ez-link cards to the other three categories of people would create other problems, such as getting pregnant women to return the cards after they have given birth.

    Besides these four categories of people, there are some who may be fit most of the time, but, at some point, may require the seats more than those in the four categories, such as a person who has fractured his leg, has a giddy spell or is simply just too tired.

    Furthermore, not all elderly people are incapable of standing or maintaining their balance in the trains, whether they are holding onto the straps or poles.

    Based on the cost projection mentioned in the project's details, it is uneconomical for SMRT, SBS Transit, and, in the future, the Land Transport Authority to purchase this type of seat, which is not only unable to solve the problem, but also introduces others.