Wednesday 19 December 2012

LTA wants 'move to back of bus' message to stick

It is placing stickers inside buses to remind people to make room for others
By Royston Sim, The Straits Times, 18 Dec 2012

IT IS a common sight in packed buses - passengers not moving further inside to make room for others.

In a bid to curb such behaviour, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has for the first time placed a set of colourful stickers on 16 buses - on services 50 and 513 - to encourage commuters to do the right thing.

These stickers, which were installed from Sunday, carry four messages in English via speech bubbles. The first two stickers at the front say "More room at the back. How about moving in?" and "Great move! Move in some more, can?"

A sticker in the middle of the bus says: "You're such a darling! ~Wiggle in~ A teensie weensie bit more, ok?"

Near the rear of the bus, the last message commends commuters for their cooperation: "Nice job! This trip rocks because of you!"

LTA hopes these stickers will give commuters a gentle nudge to move further inside buses and trains, noting this issue continues to be a pet peeve.

It engaged a design agency to come up with the stickers for service 50, which started on Sunday, and express service 513, which began yesterday.

Bus service 50 plies between Punggol and Bishan via Sengkang and Ang Mo Kio, while bus service 513 runs between Tampines and the city during peak hours. Both come under the Government's $1.1 billion Bus Service Enhancement Programme (BSEP).

With the support of operators SBS Transit and SMRT, LTA will introduce the stickers on 550 BSEP buses over the next five years. An LTA spokesman said a similar campaign may be introduced for MRT trains if these stickers are found to be effective.

This initiative is the latest in a string of measures to tackle ungracious public behaviour which has plagued public transport operators for years.

For instance, in 2010, home-grown cabaret group Dimsum Dollies fronted a six-month graciousness campaign titled Love Your Ride, which urged commuters to queue up behind marked lines on MRT station platforms.

Public Transport Council chairman Gerard Ee said there is still plenty of room for improvement. Many commuters still want to stand close to the doors in trains and buses, depriving others of available space, he added. On this latest LTA initiative, he said: "We have to keep on reminding people to move in. Some will respond and some will ignore it. Hopefully, with the sign there in public, people might feel shy about ignoring it."

The public transport sector conducts such campaigns yearly to remind commuters to give way to others and offer seats to those in need, he added.

Previous drives to foster graciousness

OVER the years, the authorities have rolled out several campaigns to encourage more considerate behaviour among commuters.

Measures include putting up signs and posters as well as making public announcements.

In 2009, the Land Transport Authority launched a one-minute video featuring TV character Phua Chu Kang in his signature yellow contractor boots.

In a rap, the character urged commuters to give way to alighting passengers and move to the middle of trains and the back of buses.

The following year, local cabaret group Dim Sum Dollies fronted a six-month graciousness campaign titled Love Your Ride.

The trio - actresses Selena Tan, Pamela Oei and Emma Yong - starred in three jingles and a music video that were played at bus interchanges and MRT stations. Commuters were asked to queue up behind the lines marked on MRT station platforms, and to give up their seats to those in need.

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