SINGAPORE – Wheelchair customers can now familiarise themselves with wheelchair-friendly journey routes underneath a brand new programme by transport operator SBS Transit.

Below the Journey Buddy programme launched on Monday, wheelchair customers can join as much as three free periods on the best way to navigate a journey route with the assistance of a journey buddy.

The journey buddies, who’re SBS Transit workers, will information the passenger all through the journey and share journey suggestions with them similar to finding the lifts at a prepare station or discovering the correct cabin for wheelchair customers.

Journey buddies will meet the passengers at their most well-liked beginning bus cease, bus interchange or prepare station, and information her or him by the route. Relying on the route, passengers could also be guided by multiple journey buddy all through the journey.

A sector of the journey should embody travelling on any SBS Transit bus or prepare service, together with the North East Line (NEL), Downtown Line and Sengkang-Punggol LRT service.

One beneficiary of the programme is a wheelchair consumer who wished to be generally known as Mr H.B. Tan. A spinal wire harm in 2020 left him depending on a wheelchair.

Since then, stated the 57-year-old, “getting onto a bus or a prepare abruptly grew to become so unfamiliar to me, and it’s a problem for me as a result of I’m scared of boarding a bus or prepare with out assist”.

He added: “However with this programme, I get a good suggestion of the best way to get to the respective stations and obtain steerage from journey buddies to, as an illustration, inform me the place the elevate is or the correct cabin within the prepare the place I can park my wheelchair safely.”

Mr Tan, who’s unemployed, has been familiarising himself together with his common routes, together with commuting from his dwelling in Jurong to Alexandra Hospital in Queenstown.

The programme additionally makes it simpler for him to modify from non-public transport to public transport. At present, he will get round by driving, however his spouse has to assist him together with his wheelchair.

“After I become older, I could not be capable to drive any extra, so I wished to take this chance to get used to taking public transport by myself,” he stated. 

Mr Jeffrey Sim, chief government of SBS Transit Rail, stated the programme was designed not solely to assist anxious wheelchair passengers allay their fears, but additionally to assist caregivers really feel assured when these passengers take public transport on their very own. 

He added that a number of the journey buddies are individuals with disabilities who can empathise with the customers.

There are at the moment about 30 journey buddies, together with 4 with disabilities. 

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