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    Aug 02, 2016

    A call to reduce escalator speeds at MRT stations

    AFTER taking on board the views of hundreds of commuters, the Public Transport Council (PTC) has released a raft of recommendations to make rides more comfortable and less daunting for everyone, including families, seniors and wheelchair users.

    To address overcrowding in front sections of buses, the PTC has suggested designing the vehicles in a way that would encourage commuters to move to the back.

    It is proposing reduced escalator speeds at train stations to make them safer for seniors.

    The recommendations were distilled after a six-month public consultation which began in December last year.

    It involved seeking the views of over 2,500 commuters via in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and face-to-face surveys.

    The results of the exercise, submitted last week to Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan, were made public yesterday.

    Some of the biggest concerns from commuters included crowding on public transport and in stations, issues of reliability and ease of access for families and the disabled.

    PTC chairman Richard Magnus said the inaugural report gives a baseline for the authorities to study how the public transport system can be improved.

    "This is the first time after a face-to-face survey... that we are able to say quite factually that this is what commuters are actually looking at and what they are concerned with," he added.

    The report is the first since the PTC took on the role as advisor to the Transport Minister in January.

    While the council maintains its primary role of regulating fares, it was also tasked then with making recommendations on how to improve public transport.

    In its report, the council has made several recommendations, such as allowing open strollers on buses which will make it easier for families with small children to travel.

    At the moment, parents have to fold up the strollers when they board buses.

    Other ideas include designing bus stops with more comfortable seats and with more space so commuters find it easier to navigate during rush hour.

    The full report is available online on the PTC website.

    Responding to the report's recommendations, Mr Khaw said Singapore needs to make its transport system friendlier to seniors and young children, as the population ages and the Government tries to boost the birth rate.

    He added that the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will study the report and "strive to put into practice the many useful recommendations".

    The LTA said it would issue a response to the report in the next few months.

    SIM University senior lecturer Park Byung Joon said since public transport assets and facilities - such as buses and soon, also trains - now belong to the LTA, it will be easier for them to push through changes.

    "Now it will be all up to the LTA, what they want to do with it," said Dr Park.