Priority queues at six MRT stations
IN A first here, priority queues will be rolled out at the platform screen doors and passenger lifts of all MRT stations soon.
The initiative, aimed at encouraging gracious behaviour among commuters, will cater to wheelchair users, pregnant women, the elderly and parents with strollers - by allowing them to board the train or enter the lifts first.
Announcing this yesterday, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said the priority queues will be implemented at six stations first and feedback will be gathered from commuters over the next two months.
Based on this, LTA said it may modify the design of the priority queue stickers before calling a tender to roll out the programme across the MRT and LRT network.
LTA chief executive Chew Men Leong added: "As Singapore becomes more car-lite, it is important that we have initiatives in place to make public transportation user-friendly for commuters with various needs."
The pilot stations are: the North-South Line's Novena station; the North-East Line's Chinatown, Outram Park and Sengkang stations; the East-West Line's Outram Park station and the Circle Line's Kent Ridge station.
They were chosen for their close distance to hospitals and high usage by seniors, LTA said. The programme builds on an earlier scheme by SMRT, which put in priority queues at its MRT station lift entrances starting from 2014.
Almost all the over 250 trains on the MRT network have spaces allocated for wheelchairs, and the location of the priority queues at the platforms will correspond to these spaces - allowing needy commuters to reach them easily once they get onboard.
An LTA spokesman said that 19 older trains are currently being refurbished to provide for these wheelchair-designated spaces.
Where possible, priority queues at the platforms will also be closer to the lifts and away from the escalators where passenger traffic is heaviest, the LTA said.
These priority queues will complement the existing queue markings at the platform, which are meant to let passengers on the train alight first.
William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, said the signs are just a reminder, and it is up to Singaporeans to "own" them.
"Signs create the norms but people have to act according to them. Sometimes, people also have to speak up and remind others who are not gracious," Dr Wan said.
Commuter Alan Santhana, 41, a general manager, said: "The priority stickers help to define a system where people give way. But more station ambassadors can also be deployed to help the needy too."