Caring And Inclusive Journeys On Board Singapore’s Very First Community Bus
Travelling on public transport independently can be a challenging experience, especially for 27-year-old Mr Chia Hong Sen, who lives with vision impairment. He finds it a challenge to locate a suitable seat on the bus where his guide dog can comfortably fit under the seat without obstructing the bus aisle. Recognising the challenges that individuals like Mr Chia may encounter when travelling on our public transport network, SBS Transit launched the CARES Community Bus where Mr Chia can familiarise himself on board a bus under the guidance of his trainer.
The CARES Community Bus is a first-of-its-kind single deck public bus that has been refurbished to retain most of its original layout. This provides a safe and controlled environment for passengers with special needs, elderly and patients undergoing rehabilitation to learn how to travel independently. Teachers or therapists can help provide guidance, familiarise passengers with bus travel, and instil safety tips and commuting etiquette.
With this bus, we can drive to different locations to serve more communities who may require assistance but are not able to accommodate a stationary decommissioned bus on their premises. Besides facilitating familiarisation and rehabilitation programmes, the bus serves the community by facilitating school learning journeys, public bus orientation tours, and excursions for beneficiaries. The CARES Community Bus underscores SBS Transit's commitment to serve the community and create a caring and inclusive community.
Earlier today, Acting Minister for Transport, Mr Chee Hong Tat, officially launched the SBS Transit CARES Community Bus at the Caring Carnival at One Punggol.
There were also activities on board the bus and at SBS Transit's booth at the Caring Carnival to promote a caring and inclusive commuting culture.
Mr Jeffrey Sim, Group Chief Executive Officer of SBS Transit, said: “We are committed to promoting a caring and inclusive community, where public transportation is accessible to all. The SBS Transit CARES Community Bus makes learning practical and accessible to persons with disabilities as it can go to where they are. It will provide a safe platform for them to learn and gain confidence to travel independently. Concurrently, the SBS Transit CARES Community Bus will also enable us to expand our outreach efforts to communities and organisations to promote awareness, empathy and better understanding of people with special needs, elderly and vulnerable commuters.”
Mr Derek Ong, President, Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped, said: “We believe that the CARES Community Bus will provide a good platform for persons with visual impairment to gain confidence in taking buses from point to point. It will also raise awareness in the general public, to give thoughtful consideration towards accessibility for persons with disabilities.”