23 August 2019
SMRT Buses Deepens Commitment to Inclusive Service Delivery, Signs MOU with Community Partners
1. As part of our ongoing efforts to provide a higher level of public transport service for all commuters, SMRT Buses signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) and four social service agencies (SSAs), to express their commitment to support and enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities and dementia, and help them better integrate into society.
2. SMRT’s collaboration with AIC, Alzheimer’s Disease Association (ADA), Guide Dogs Singapore (GDS), Handicaps Welfare Association (HWA), and Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH), is to enhance the exchange of information and knowledge between partners, by tapping on each other’s experience and expertise to enhance inclusive service delivery in the public transport network.
3. Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Member of Parliament for Nee Soon GRC and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Social and Family Development; Dr Alvin Tan, Director, Disability Office, Ministry of Social and Family Development; as well as SMRT’s Chairman Seah Moon Ming and Group Chief Executive Officer Neo Kian Hong witnessed the signing of the MOU at the upcoming Yishun Integrated Transport Hub (YITH).
4. SMRT is committed to serving commuters with special needs and the elderly since the launch of the Inclusive Service Delivery Programme in October 2017 for SMRT Trains and Buses, by equipping staff with practical skills and confidence to assist priority passengers.
5. In addition to signing the MOU, AIC, GDS, and HWA have also trained and certified SMRT Buses staff to teach others how to approach and help people with disabilities and dementia to commute in the public transport network. SAVH has commenced training for the SMRT trainers, while ADA will be conducting its dementia-related training in upcoming months.
6. To date, five SMRT Buses staff have completed the Train-the-Trainer programmes by AIC, GDS and HWA. They are certified trainers who are able to teach inclusive service delivery techniques to SMRT staff and others, and recently trained their first batch of nearly 40 SMRT staff. For example, the AIC training programme includes education on how to identify people with dementia, how to approach and communicate with them, and how to reunite them with their families.
7. The five SMRT trainers shall be conducting inclusive service delivery sessions at YITH, SMRT Buses’ first venue to host training for inclusive service delivery. SMRT Buses aims to train all its frontline staff at its interchanges in inclusive service delivery.
8. Mr Tan Kian Heong, President, SMRT Roads, said: “As an inclusive public transport service provider, we want all commuters, especially the elderly and those with special needs, to feel safe and comfortable when they travel in our network. As a first step, we are happy to partner these five agencies to provide training to our Bus Captains and frontline staff to assist commuters who have different abilities and commuting needs.”
9. Mr Eugene Lee, one of SMRT’s five inclusive service trainers, said: “It’s a great responsibility and privilege to be able to pass on the knowledge I have learnt to my colleagues in SMRT, so that more of us at SMRT are able to help commuters who have special needs travel safely and comfortably in our network.”
10. Mr Tan Kwang Cheak, Chief Executive Officer of AIC, said: “With Singapore’s ageing population, there is a need to enhance community support for seniors and persons with dementia so that they can live and age well at home and within the community. AIC is pleased to partner with SMRT Buses to make public bus travel safer and more supportive for this group as part of our national Dementia-Friendly Singapore initiative. Besides providing advice on making physical spaces more dementia-friendly, we have also worked with SMRT Buses on training their trainers and in establishing the first Go-To Point (GTP) sited in a transport hub at YITH.”
11. Mr Jason Foo, Chief Executive Officer of ADA, said: “ADA is pleased to sign this MOU with SMRT to train their frontline staff to be better equipped with the knowledge and skills to look after the needs of their customers with dementia. This partnership is part of our ‘Forget Us Not’ initiative in collaboration with Lien Foundation and is in line with our strategy to bring the 3Ps (People, Private and Public sectors) together to build a dementia inclusive society for persons with dementia and their caregivers.”
12. Ms Vanessa Loh, General Manager of GDS, said: “Working together with stakeholders is important in transforming Singapore into an inclusive society. As such, we’re honoured to partner with SMRT to better our transportation infrastructure and services so travelling can become friendly towards people with different needs, such as for our clients with visual impairment and guide dogs.”
13. Mr Edmund Wan, President, HWA, said: “The Handicaps Welfare Association (HWA) is honoured to be a partner of SMRT to ensure the safety and proper handling of commuters using various personal mobility aids by their front-line staff. Public transport remains the most convenient and affordable form of transport provision for all sectors of commuters including people with physical impairments and facilitates their integration in the community.
HWA will impart its years of experience in developing the training material, especially the do’s and don’ts in dealing with people with mobility impairments. We applaud SMRT for their on-going concerns and efforts to include the care and safety of the people with physical impairments as a priority.”
14. Mr Joshua Chegne, Executive Director, Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped, said: “SAVH lauds SMRT’s commitment to serving commuters with special needs and the elderly through the launch of its comprehensive delivery service programme. SAVH looks forward to working with SMRT to build a more inclusive and caring transport system network, so that all commuters with disabilities and their caregivers can enjoy safe and comfortable travel, confident that help is readily at hand should they need it.”
15. YITH, which is operated by SMRT Buses, will commence operations on 8 September 2019.
16. It is also the first bus interchange to be appointed by AIC as a Dementia Go-To Point (GTP). As a GTP, it is a resource centre for caregivers, and a support point for persons with dementia when they go missing or get lost. Members of the public can bring these persons to YITH, where trained SMRT staff will calm them down and contact their next-of-kin.
17. Reinforcing the importance of building an inclusive, caring community in its transport network, SMRT Buses worked with the Public Transport Council to locate two Heart Zones within YITH. In the Heart Zones, commuters are encouraged to walk with hospital patients or visitors to the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital and Yishun Community Hospital, or provide directional assistance to them.
18. Mr Richard Magnus, Chairman, Public Transport Council, said: “PTC is glad to be able to locate two Heart Zones at the Yishun Integrated Transport Hub and work with SMRT to create an inclusive commuting experience to meet the diverse needs of different commuters. We will continue to actively partner our stakeholders within the land transport eco-system to create and foster an inclusive and gracious commuting culture that is underpinned by care among different stakeholders, including operators and commuters alike.”