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

Underneath the Journey Buddy programme launched on Monday, wheelchair customers can join as much as three free classes on find out how 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 ideas with them corresponding to finding the lifts at a prepare station or discovering the appropriate 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 via 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 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 person who needed to be referred to as Mr H.B. Tan. A spinal wire damage in 2020 left him depending on a wheelchair.

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

He added: “However with this programme, I get a good suggestion of find out how to get to the respective stations and obtain steering from journey buddies to, for example, inform me the place the carry is or the appropriate 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 personal transport to public transport. Presently, he will get round by driving, however his spouse has to assist him together with his wheelchair.

“Once I become old, I could not have the ability to drive any extra, so I needed to take this chance to get used to taking public transport by myself,” he mentioned. 

Mr Jeffrey Sim, chief government of SBS Transit Rail, mentioned the programme was designed not solely to assist anxious wheelchair passengers allay their fears, but in addition 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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