Automated wheelchair ramps found unsuitable following trial

Media Replies 25 May 2021 wheelchair access Wheelchair Accessible Buses (WAB)

We refer to Ms Rachel Tan’s letter “Time to install automated wheelchair ramps” (May 8).

All public buses are currently installed with manual ramps to make them accessible to less ambulant commuters. A six-month trial was conducted with SBS Transit from September 2017 to March 2018 to assess the operational feasibility of automated ramps on public buses.

The trial showed that the automated ramps resulted in longer stopping times at bus stops as it took more time to extend and retract than a manual ramp. This in turn caused longer waiting times for commuters and other bus services serving the bus stop.

SBS Transit also shared that the automated ramp required increased maintenance due to its complex set-up.

These findings are consistent with the experiences of bus operators overseas. They shared that automated ramps were prone to failure and contributed significantly to service disruptions. This is because a bus would not be able to continue operating safely if the automated ramp fails to retract.

In view of these findings, the Land Transport Authority decided not to replace the manual ramps with automated ones. We will continue to work with our operators to explore other options to enhance the inclusiveness of public transport.

Yeo Teck Guan
Senior Group Director, Public Transport
Land Transport Authority

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