Saturday, 20 August 2016

Jurong smart bus stop makes waiting fun

Experimental bus stop in Jurong East has a book exchange corner, Wi-Fi and even a swing
By Janice Heng and Rahimah Rashith, The Straits Times, 19 Aug 2016

Commuters often gripe about having to wait for buses. But the wait is now far more palatable - even enjoyable - at a refurbished bus stop in Jurong East.

There, commuters can tap free Wi-Fi, charge their mobile phones, read books, and even sit on a swing.

Designed to "make waiting fun", the bus stop in Jurong Gateway Road is a ground-up idea by a group of architects and part of a broader vision to make Singapore livelier. The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has been promoting similar efforts such as public art and street closures for parties.

If it is well received, the authorities will consider incorporating the ideas in future bus stops. The features, which were unveiled yesterday, will be in operation for a year. They include digital information boards with bus timings, the weather and a street directory, mobile phone charging points, and free Wi-Fi from September. There are also physical books - from Enid Blyton to classics like Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 - as well as e-books to download.

Housewife Sharah Syed, 35, was heading home with her son after his tuition class when one of the Enid Blyton books caught the primary schooler's eye. "He saw the books immediately and asked if he could pick up one and read," said Madam Sharah. "I think the shelf of books is useful for the kids. They will like it."

The bus stop also boasts a green roof, vertical greenery, solar panels, bicycle parking and a swing.

Administrative assistant Emma Chen, 35, welcomed the display of bus arrival times and the upcoming Wi-Fi. But student Putri Amirah, 13, said: "I don't know if I will stay long enough to use the charger as I will be rushing for my bus."



The public are encouraged to share feedback on the bus stop by sending an e-mail to AUDE@ ura.gov.sg. This will help the Government decide if the features and services should be considered for future bus stops, said the URA yesterday.

The bus stop is the brainchild of a group of architects from DP Architects, who designed it as a corporate social responsibility initiative.

Director Seah Chee Huang, who led the team, said: "We are looking forward to seeing how commuters use, experience and enjoy this new setting." He hopes to show that bus stops can be social hubs where people meet and have fun.

The firm took the idea to the Land Transport Authority and the URA, and it was implemented through collaboration with other agencies like the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and the National Environment Agency.

"I'm very encouraged to see these young architects come forward with their ideas to make our public spaces more vibrant," said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong in a blog post yesterday.

"We hope to have more Singaporeans play an active role in shaping the use of our public spaces."

This is the reason for the URA's Our Favourite Place scheme, which provides funding support for ideas to enliven public spaces, he added.

"Planning our future city is not just a job for our urban planners," he said. "We all can play a role in shaping our streets and public spaces. The more we do so, the more we strengthen our sense of ownership, identity and emotional connection to Singapore our home."

Those with ideas can visit https://www.ura.gov.sg/MS/OurFavePlace.aspx or e-mail URA_ourfaveplace@ura.gov.sg












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