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

Beneath the Journey Buddy programme launched on Monday, wheelchair customers can join as many as three free classes on tips on how to navigate a journey route with the assistance of a journey buddy.

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

Journey buddies will meet the passengers at their most popular beginning bus cease, bus interchange or prepare station, and information her or him by means of the route. Relying on the route, passengers could also be guided by a couple of journey buddy all through the journey.

A sector of the journey should embrace 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 needed to be referred to as Mr H.B. Tan.

The 57-year-old stated spinal twine damage in 2020 left him depending on a wheelchair. Since then, he added, “getting onto a bus or a prepare all of a sudden turned so unfamiliar to me, and it’s a problem for me as a result of I’m terrified of boarding a bus or preparing without assist”.

He added: “However with this programme, I get a good suggestion of tips on how to get to the respective stations and obtain steerage from journey buddies too, as an example, inform me the place the raise is or the suitable 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 house in Jurong to Alexandra Hospital in Queenstown.

The programme additionally makes it simpler for Mr Tan to modify from personal transport to public transport. At the moment, he will get around by driving, however, his spouse has to assist him together with his wheelchair.

“After I become older, I’ll not be capable of driving any extra, so I needed to take this chance to get used to taking public transport by myself,” he stated.

Mr Jeffrey Sim, chief govt of SBS Transit Rail, stated the programme was designed to not solely assist anxious wheelchair passengers to allay their fears, but additionally to assist caregivers really feeling 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 present about 30 journey buddies, together with 4 with disabilities.

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