Trial Of Priority Cabins On North-East Line MRT Will Begin By End 2020

Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is set to be a more inclusive transport system.

On Thursday (5 Mar), Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reported that a year-long trial for priority cabins for the elderly, wheelchair users and young kids on the North-East Line (NEL) will begin by the end of 2020.


Priority cabins will be the two center cabins on each six-carriage train at NEL stations.

Priority cabins on NEL trains

A year-long trial for priority cabins will begin by the end of 2020.

Under this initiative, those who need more space will get priority for the two center cabins of all NEL trains. These cabins were selected because they were near lifts.

The target groups include wheelchair users, the elderly and young children, who’ll get seats or spaces more easily without having to tussle with the crowds.


Signs will also be placed in the cabins. Hence, passengers will remember to give up their seats and keep wheelchair spaces free.

Mobile app for wheelchair users & visually impaired

The trial for the Mobility Assistance for the Visually Impaired and Selected Users (MAVIS) app began on selected buses in early 2019. This will expand to include all buses for the next three years.

The app lets bus drivers know that passengers with special needs will be alighting the vehicle.


Meanwhile, individuals with visual disabilities can activate audio announcements so they are aware of arriving buses and details of upcoming bus stops.

Booster seats in SMRT taxis

A six-month pilot programme will equip 2,800 SMRT taxis with booster seats.


There will be no additional charge for using these seats.

The Road Traffic Act makes it illegal for cars to carry passengers below the height of 1.35m without a booster seat or a child restraint. However, taxis were exempted because they were considered as public service vehicles.

CNA quoted Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport Baey Yam Keng who said,

This will enhance safety for children in taxis and provide parents of young children with a safer transport option.

With booster seats readily available, parents won’t have to worry about their young children’s safety while taking taxis anymore.

Caring SG Commuters Committee made changes possible

The newly-formed Caring SG Commuters Committee will make these initiatives a reality.


Public Transport Council chairman Richard Magnus will be the chair of the committee. It will also include representatives from the National Transport Workers’ Union, LTA reps and four bus operators.

The committee’s goals are the following:

  1. Make commuters aware of the needs of other commuters
  2. Engage commuters and other stakeholders to find ways to grow and improve the caring commuting movement
  3. Recommend ways to sustain a caring commuting culture

The committee believes that the participation of commuters is necessary to create an inclusive transport network.

Be considerate of other commuters

Despite government initiatives, part of the responsibility still falls on us to be considerate to individuals with special needs.

For example, you can offer your seats to elderly commuters on trains and buses. If wheelchair users are struggling to enter the lift, give them a helping hand.

Fostering a warm and loving society really doesn’t take much.

Hopefully, with everyone playing their parts, our transport system can truly become more inclusive to all.

Featured image from Youtube and PTC.