1 The Public Transport Council (PTC) will launch a public education programme titled A Happy Journey Starts Like That! to promote graciousness on public transport. The programme kicks off on 23 May at Circle Line Discovery, a community event organised by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to provide the public a sneak preview of the Circle Line MRT stations from Bartley to Marymount before they open for revenue service on 28 May.
2 The programme will promote the message of gracious commuting with special attention to the following behaviour, which are considered most pertinent to a pleasant and comfortable journey: -
- Giving way to alighting train passengers,
- Giving up of reserved seating to the more needy and
- Moving in to the middle of train cars or rear of buses, optimising the passenger carrying capacity and reducing waiting time.
3 Programme service ambassadors comprising staff and volunteers from the supporting partners - the LTA and the two public transport operators, SBS Transit and SMRT - will be on-site at selected MRT stations during the morning and evening rush hours to facilitate commuters giving way to alighting ones. This will be carried out for a period of time after programme inception.
Programme Publicity and Public Engagement
4 To inject a fun and humourous element to the programme, the PTC has roped in popular sitcom characters Phua Chu Kang (PCK) and his wife, Rosie, to help spread the messages. Images of the couple asking commuters to be gracious will adorn the platform screen doors at MRT stations and windows on trains and buses. Posters carrying the message will also be displayed on publicity boards at train stations and bus interchanges. A catchy rap recorded by PCK will be playing at train stations and on buses, urging commuters to be gracious, as "A Happy Journey Starts Like That!". The rap video and posters will also be disseminated to secondary schools and tertiary institutions to reach out to the youths. The video can also be viewed on PTC's corporate website at ptc.gov.sg.
5 From 28 May to 3 June, the LTA and transport operators will also be scouting for commuters who behave in a considerate manner on public transport. Each of such will be rewarded with an Ez-Link card with a $10 value. Moreover, their good deeds will be publicised on posters placed at selected MRT stations.
6 To encourage public participation, the PTC will organise a contest in which the public can submit multimedia clips to STOMP on the programme theme "A Happy Journet Starts Like That!". Winners stand to walk away with nearly $8,000 worth of prizes. Interested personnel can go to stomp.com.sg/happyjourney for more details.
New "Reserved Seating" Signs and Floor Queue Line Design
7 The LTA, SBS Transit and SMRT, have standardised the signs for priority seating in MRT trains. The new signs are in blue and white, aligned with the colour code for the International Symbol of Access, and state "Reserved Seating" instead of "Priority Seating" to make the call-for-action to give up the seats more authoritative and forceful. All commuters may take these seats but are expected to give them up to those who may need them more such as the elderly, adults with small children and pregnant women.
8 New floor queue lines have also been installed at eleven MRT stations in a six-month pilot to test if these are more effective in enhancing guidance to boarding commuters. The new design contains a green arrow to suggest right of way for exiting passengers. The stations involved are Bartley, Bishan, Bukit Batok, City Hall, Dhoby Ghaut, Lorong Chuan, Marymount, Outram Park, Raffles Place, Serangoon and Tampines. The pilot will start on 28 May when Circle Line from Bartley to Marymount begins its revenue service.
9 Please refer to Annex A for visuals of the new "Reserved Seating" signs and floor queue lines design.
Quotes by Supporting Partners
10 "The LTA is fully behind this graciousness on public transport programme. We are hopeful that the programme will improve the commute experience and make public transport a choice mode for more people, including drivers," said Mr Yam Ah Mee, Chief Executive, LTA.
11 "As we go about our daily lives, we tend to forget about the need to be gracious. We hope that Phua Chu Kang and Rosie, both of whom are well-loved by Singaporeans, will be able to help instil a sense of community caring and graciousness to all commuters. In so doing, they will be able to make public transport travel a more pleasant and enjoyable experience for all concerned," said Mr Gan Juay Kiat, Executive Director, SBS Transit.
12 "SMRT welcomes this initiative to encourage passengers to be gracious and courteous. It is only with considerate actions of each and every passenger that the total travelling experience for everyone can be pleasant and enjoyable," said Ms Saw Phaik Hwa, Chief Executive Officer, SMRT Corporation Ltd.
13 "Singapore can be a gracious place and travelling on public transport can be a really fuss-free and pleasant experience if we all just practice a little consideration for each other. We are all capable of simple acts of kindness," said Mr Teh Thien Yew, General Manager, Singapore Kindness Movement Secretariat.
Public transport ridership has risen steadily over the years. Last year, public transport ridership grew by 7.4%, the fastest rate in many years. As more people turn to public transport as their choice mode, it is pertinent that we improve the commute experience.
To ease congestion, the two major Public Transport Operators, SBS Transit and SMRT, have increased the frequency of train trips during the rush hours. SMRT has also refurnished the NSEW Lines' trains to provide more cabin space. New MRT lines, such as the Circle Line, will open progressively to take the load off the existing ones. SBS Transit is on a fleet replacement programme with over 700 new buses bought over the past three years. By year end, it would have 1,100 new buses to better cater to demand.