Monday 16 March 2015

Seniors get priority and seating in bus queues

Yishun's temporary bus interchange makes life a bit easier for elderly and those with special needs
By Audrey Tan, The Sunday Times, 15 Mar 2015

A temporary bus interchange in Yishun that has priority queues for the likes of seniors and pregnant women roared to life on its opening day.

It is the first bus interchange in Singapore to have priority queues - areas next to each bus berth with seats for those who need them.

Depending on the response, public transport operator SMRT said it will look into having such priority queues at its four other bus interchanges, if space permits.

"The (priority queue initiative) is part and parcel of our successful ageing plan," said Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, an MP for Nee Soon GRC and Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Health. He and fellow Nee Soon GRC MP Patrick Tay launched the interchange yesterday.

In 2013, the proportion of people aged 65 and above was about 11.7 per cent. This rose to 12.4 per cent last year, Prof Faishal said.

"I hope Yishun residents will play their part, to show kindness and graciousness to their seniors and those with special needs," said Prof Faishal.

The temporary structure is located at the junction of Yishun Central and Yishun Central 1, next to the site of the original interchange.

The 28-year-old bus facility said its goodbye at about 1.30am yesterday morning. About 60 passengers on SMRT service 812, the last bus to get back to the old interchange, were presented with a certificate to mark the occasion.

In its place will be a new Yishun integrated transport hub slated to open in 2019.

The 236,800 sq ft hub will include an air-conditioned bus interchange, with an underpass link to Yishun MRT station. It will also be connected to the upcoming Northpoint City, a commercial and residential development.

The area's residents will be served in the meantime by the temporary bus interchange.

Yesterday, retired lift repair technician Mak Yew Lam, 77, was one of the first to try out the priority queue areas.

He said: "It is more comfortable because I can sit, and from here, I can wait for two buses at different berths instead of having to queue up for just one."

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