How One MRT Operator Made Inclusive MRT Travel Possible in Singapore
Mass rapid transit (MRT) constitutes the bulk of the railway network in Singapore. Connecting the country from north to south and from east to west, MRT is the most heavily used public transportation system. It is the most affordable and faster way to zip around the city. The MRT network is managed and operated by two main transport service providers — SMRT Corporation and SBS Transit.
SMRT Corporation is a multi-modal public transport operator in Singapore and manages five lines within the MRT network, including North-South, East-West, North-East, Downtown, and Circle Line. With the mission of ‘Moving People, Enhancing Lives, SMRT is making inclusive travel possible in the MRT network for Singaporeans. It believes in connecting people to places. It has made journeys not just accessible for everyone but also enjoyable. Here is what SMRT is doing to make MRT travel inclusive, accessible, and enjoyable for every type of commuter.
1. For Visually Impaired Commuters: SMRT allows visually impaired people to bring guide dogs in stations and onboard trains. It has placed tactile ground surface indicators throughout the stations and lift buttons with braille plates.
2. For Hearing Impaired Commuters: SMRT has placed plasma displays at platforms, flashing red door closing lights at train doors, and fluorescent displays in trains to provide multi-language messages.
3. For Commuters in Wheelchairs: SMRT-operated stations have wheelchair-accessible elevators, barrier-free entrances and gates, and wheelchair accessible train carriages.
4. Collaboration with social service agencies: The transport operator has partnered with Guide Dogs Singapore (GDS) to develop a service forum to share knowledge with its frontline staff, a new operating procedure and service scripts for staff, and bite-sized training materials to increase staff knowledge of the needs of the visually impaired.
5. Collaboration with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC): To help elderlytravellers, especially those with dementia, SMRT has created Dementia Go-To Points with the help of AIC, where anyone can come and seek help from staff.
6. For Tech-Savvy Travellers: SMRT has introduced the SmartConnect multi-modal journey planner app wherein people can get real-time train and bus arrival timings and station information. e-Travel Chit helps people to obtain a proof-of-travel during the service disruption. SNAP-REP lets commuters report technical defects in the network through WhatsApp.
7. For People Who Require Special Care: Commuters who require special care can obtain Special Care stickers from SMRT stations.
SMRT Chairman Seah Moon Ming said, “With these developments, we envision a more inclusive and safer travelling experience for all our commuters in a better-connected transport network.”
Seah Moon Ming further added, “We will continue to invest in People and Technology. Continuous improvement efforts will also be deepened at the individual, system, and company levels. The philosophy of continuous improvement and transformation is key to our success.”
Convenient and special features in facilities, trains, and stations make commuting more convenient for people with disabilities, elderly people, and parents with young children. SMRT is working in the same way as the Land Transport Authority in creating an inclusive public transport system. By providing an accessible transportation system, transport operators and the government are trying to help people get around more independently.