27 October 2006 – SBS Transit will introduce its second wheelchair-accessible bus (WAB) service on October 30 – two months earlier than originally expected.
The launch of the new WAB Service 147 has been brought forward thanks to strong demand for Service 21 – Singapore’s first WAB here. Since its launch on 26 June 2006, over 600 passengers-in-wheelchairs (PIWS) have taken the service. Feedback from commuters has been positive and there have no been instances where passengers have complained of service delays because the boarding and alighting activities of PIWs.
Bus Captain Chew Kang Yee, who has been driving Service 21 for about a year, said passengers have been very helpful whenever PIWs board the buses.
“Everyone has been very kind. They do not mind that it takes a few more minutes for the PIWs to board and alight. Driving the WAB service has shown me how understanding and tolerant Singaporeans can be,” he said.
Indeed, PIWs like Mr Hui Nai Wai, have benefitted from the introduction of WAB services, The 57-year-old, who makes several trips on Service 21 a week, said, "Getting to my place at Eunos, to church along Geylang and to the Handicaps Welfare Association for my physical therapy is now more enjoyable. With Service 21, I have even gone to Mustafa to do some window shopping!”
20-year-old Jovin Tan, a wheelchair user, added: “Having this bus service is great as now there are more options for the physically disabled to travel. It is also very easy for me to plan my route because I always check the arrival times on the Internet.”
Mr Ong Boon Leong, Executive Director of SBS Transit said, “We are very encouraged by the success of Service 21. Many PIWs have written in to thank us for making low-cost bus travel available to them. Based on such positive feedback, we decided to roll out WAB on Service 147 sooner rather than later so that more PIWs can travel on our buses.”
Service 147 plys between Clementi and Hougang Interchanges, running past the Society for the Physically Disabled’s (SPD) premises in Peng Nguan Street, off Jalan Bukit Merah. It also provides direct access to medical facilities such as the Singapore General Hospital, Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital and the polyclinics at Bukit Merah and Clementi. The service was chosen to be a WAB service following consultation with the Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) and the Land Transport Authority.
The Service 147 fleet consists of 29 air-conditioned double-deck and 8 air-conditioned single-deck buses. The deployment of 19 WABs will mean that one in two buses on the Service 147 route will be wheelchair-accessible during peak hours.
To ensure the safety and comfort of passengers-in-wheelchairs, all Service 147 Bus Captains have been trained to operate the wheelchair ramp and to render assistance when needed.
On the part that motorists can play, Mr Ong added, “I hope motorists will also show their support by staying clear of bus stops as WABs need to stop close to the kerbs for the ramps to be properly deployed. Together, let us all do our part to show our care and concern for the less fortunate amongst us ” said Mr Ong.
More information about our WAB services are available on our website at www.sbstransit.com.sg.
About the first WAB service
The Service 21 WABs were launched by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and Second Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, on 26 June 2006. Since then, some 600 passengers-in-wheelchairs have taken rides on the WABs. There are 10 WABs deployed on this service.
About Service 147
Service 147 operates from Hougang Central Bus Interchange to Clementi Bus Interchange via Hougang Central, Upper Serangoon Road, Hougang Avenue 8, Avenue 2, Yio Chu Kang Road, Yio Chu Kang Link, Serangoon Central, Upper Serangoon Road, Bendemeer Road, Jalan Besar, Bencoolen Street, Victoria Street, Hill Street, New Bridge Road, Kampong Bahru Road, Jalan Bukit Merah, Queensway, Commonwealth Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue West and Clementi Avenue 3.
Coverage of the service…
- VWOs, the Society for the Physically Disabled and SPD Ability Centre
- Medical facilities: Singapore General Hospital, Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital and Polyclinics at Bukit Merah and Clementi
- New Towns:Hougang, Serangoon, Bukit Merah and Clementi
- MRT stations:Hougang, Serangoon, Potong Pasir, Clarke Quay, Chinatown, Commonwealth, Buona Vista, Dover.
- Government offices: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, Ministry of Manpower, Ministry of Trade and Industry, National Arts Council, National Heritage Board, Economic Development Board