//
you're reading...
The Straits Times

Beyond Subsidies: Making Public Transportation Inclusive And Accessible

Going by their postings, netizens were generally encouraged by Mr. Lui’s online overtures” (Lui Responds To Feedback, Grouses On FaceBook, Mr. Christopher Tan).

Beyond the recurrent, tricky problem of rush-hour overcrowding, the increased levels of engagement would have made Minister Lui more cognisant of the challenges in accessibility and inclusiveness.

Mr. Lui Tuck Yew’s appointment as Minister of the Ministry of Transport (MOT) comes at a time when public transportation is undergoing significant infrastructural developments: train lines lengthened, bus and train trips more frequent, stations and interchanges more efficient et cetera. Positively, these hardware enhancements have been complemented by heightened ‘heartware’ connection displayed by Minister Lui; particularly in the social media front as expounded in the news article “Lui Responds To Feedback, Grouses on FaceBook” (June 7, 2011) by Mr. Christopher Tan.

Naturally, beyond the recurrent, tricky problem of rush-hour overcrowding, the increased levels of engagement would have made Minister Lui more cognisant of the challenges in accessibility and inclusiveness. Calls for subsidies for the disabled and polytechnic students are valid and beneficial. Even though the service providers ultimately determine the details of various concessions, the MOT has the potential to craft policies that strike equilibrium between the public interest and the firms’ aim to maximise profits.

Besides the subsidies, more can also be done for the convenience and comfort of the elderly or disabled passengers. First and foremost, it is virtually impossible for the aforementioned groups of people to board trains during rush-hours, given their physical impediments or limitations; therefore, specially-designed carriages can be designated – near elevators or escalators – for their daily commute.

The MOT has the potential to craft policies that strike equilibrium between the public interest and the firms’ aim to maximise profits.

Second, the rise in the sheer number of bus and train services, train stations as well as network have made the entire public transportation system more wide-reaching and functional; unfortunately, its corresponding complexity and combinations have made it more confusing for older or English-illiterate individuals. The MOT can work more closely with community partners – from voluntary welfare organisations to community interests groups – to devise quick-and-easy methodologies for trip planning or journey management. Third, vis-à-vis discussions or interactions after first-hand scheduled trips with stakeholders can be introduced, or enhanced – if such measures are already in place – to solicit comments or constructive criticisms. In essence, the strategies are aimed at speedily reducing the barriers to entry for these groups to take public transportation; which can only be done with greater sensitivity by the bureaucrats and officers.

Above all, it will be virtually impossible – and rather unfeasible – for Minister Lui to keep up with the virtual interactions on FaceBook on a long-term basis. As a result of these considerations, it is then important for his administrators to make feedback platforms more efficient and sustainable, for the continued benefit of all commuters.

Advertisements

About guanyinmiao

A man of knowledge lives by acting, not by thinking about acting. Carlos Castaneda.

Discussion

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow guanyinmiao's musings on WordPress.com

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,249 other followers

Twitter

%d bloggers like this: