Wi-Fi on public buses to come?
HAVING trouble connecting to the Web through cellular networks with your phone or tablet while travelling on public buses? Another way to hook up on the go is in the pipeline.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is looking into providing Wi-Fi access on buses, as well as at bus interchanges.
This was revealed by Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim. He announced this while replying to MP Lee Bee Wah (Nee Soon GRC), who had asked if the free Wi-Fi service WiFi@MRT would be extended to Khatib MRT station.
Since the Wi-Fi service was launched at City Hall, Orchard and Raffles Place MRT stations in August, more than 145,000 commuters have used it.
Some 20 MRT stations, including those on the North-East Line, will get Wi-Fi access progressively over the next few months.
Noting that the service was rolled out on a trial basis, Associate Professor Faishal yesterday said MRT interchanges that see a high volume of commuters would be given priority, and that the service would be available at Khatib Station by next year.
If the trial is successful and well-received by people, the service would be rolled out at other MRT stations too, he added.
The LTA is also developing a system that will relay real-time information between buses and bus stops, so commuters can get more information while they are travelling.
The central bus management system will be implemented progressively from the end of next year and will be completed in 2017, said Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo in Parliament yesterday.
She was responding to Non-Constituency MP Gerald Giam, who had asked whether the LTA will consider using technology on buses and at bus stops to help visually impaired commuters travel more independently and safely.
Mrs Teo said of the new system: "We will have announcements of the next bus stop, for example, broadcast on buses, or delivered in a more targeted way through smartphone applications and other devices."
Full-time students also have reason to cheer.
The Public Transport Council has asked public transport operators to consider extending student concessions to all full-time students in universities, polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education, even if they are receiving some form of income.
Mrs Teo said that the operators are considering the request.
She was responding to MP Baey Yam Keng (Tampines GRC), who had asked why students receiving allowances from organisations are ineligible for the Tertiary Student Concession Card.
Mrs Teo said: "Students who are receiving some form of income, for example, from companies which employ them, have traditionally been deemed to be financially independent and hence not eligible for student concession."
But she added that the council has asked operators to consider extending these concessions to students receiving some form of income, as the "numbers are not large, and the distinction between them and other students who are receiving scholarships or bursary assistance is not always clear".
Before this, the council and operators have been "judicious" about who should get to enjoy concessions, as these are cross-subsidised by other commuters, she explained.