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    Nov 16, 2015

    LTA to launch priority queue zones

    Be they waiting for a bus or crossing the road, seniors and people with mobility needs will get more help getting around.

    The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said that, following a successful pilot, it will roll out priority queues at all new bus interchanges and integrated transport hubs.

    This will allow the elderly, pregnant women and those with disabilities to wait in designated areas near the boarding berths, called priority queue zones.

    The first integrated transport hub to get these zones is the one at Joo Koon, which starts running this Saturday. Such hubs are fully air-conditioned bus interchanges linked to MRT stations with adjoining commercial developments.

    The Joo Koon hub will have three priority queue zones. Seats will be put in these areas, and tactile paving will help the visually impaired to find these zones.

    Signs have also been put up to encourage commuters to give way to those waiting in the priority zone when boarding the bus.

    Priority queues were first piloted at a temporary bus interchange in Yishun in March. LTA has taken in feedback and made the signage more prominent at the Joo Koon hub, through better placement and brighter colours.

    Chew Sok Choo, 63, a part-time waitress, welcomed the new initiative. She said: "At our age, sometimes we get leg cramps if we stand too long. It'll be good to sit down while we wait."

    LTA said the priority queue is part of "a series of senior-friendly initiatives that ensure that seniors and those with mobility needs can enjoy safe and pleasant journeys on our transport network".

    There are also plans to improve way-finding signs at public transport nodes - through simplifying information on signs and exploring the use of more pictograms or icons, LTA said.

    A public consultation was held with a group of seniors in August and LTA is now evaluating the feedback, with plans to start implementing improvements by the fourth quarter of next year.

    Meanwhile, more elderly folk are set to benefit from the Green Man Plus scheme launched in 2009.

    By tapping concession cards on readers attached to traffic light poles, seniors and people with mobility needs can extend the green-man time at pedestrian crossings by three to 13 seconds, depending on the crossing size.

    LTA said it has awarded a contract worth $6.9 million to expand the scheme to another 500 crossings islandwide, doubling the more than 500 existing ones. With works to start this month, the project will be completed in 2018.

    One new location to have the extended green-man feature is the pedestrian crossing along Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3 and 6.

    As the area has many elderly residents, Koh Ann Keong, a centre manager at the nearby Awwa senior community home, wrote to the authorities in June to ask for the scheme.

    He said: "The road is six lanes wide. Giving the elderly more time to cross will definitely reduce their anxiety."