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Elderly man rests on the floor of MRT compartment with fewer seats

Some of the carriages now have less seats in order to increase capacity but this has had a detrimental effect on elderly travellers

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A photo of an elderly man sitting and resting on the floor of an MRT compartment is circulating online. Some have said that the man is sitting on the floor since the MRT train he is travelling on has removed some seats to improve train capacity.

Facebook user Sue Goh, who shared the photo on social media, wrote that the MRT compartment has said that the removal of more seats to boost capacity has had an adverse effect on the elderly who use the trains to travel.

She added that these trains have fewer seats and reserved seats are harder to find since they might be occupied by passengers who may not need them “the elderly can only lower their heads and accept this cruel desolate reality: ‘I am sitting on the ground.'”

Photo: Sue Goh FB

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In 2008, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) – a statutory board under the Ministry of Transport – said that it will address the overcrowding issue and make modifications to SMRT trains to allow more standing room by having some seats removed.

Revealing that this is a joint initiative with rail operator SMRT, LTA said it will be removing seats based on “feedback from commuters about increased crowding during peak periods.” LTA said that it agrees “whole-heartedly with suggestions to explore adding more carriages or increase train frequencies.”

The statutory board said that it will slash the number of seats in certain trains by as much as 30 per cent. It said: “The objective is to create more standing room in train cabins, so that doorways will be less congested, and commuters will find it easier to board and alight.”

Asserting that while a “majority of commuters” said it was important to have more standing room in the train compartments, LTA acknowledged that this may pose difficulties to people like senior citizens. It said:

“We fully understand that the removal of seats may be an issue for commuters with special needs, such as the elderly, parents with young children, pregnant mothers and the mobility-impaired. Hence, LTA and SMRT have ensured that all train cabins will continue to have seats; even modified train cabins will still have 36 seats each.
“As far as possible, these modified trains will not run consecutively at any station platform, so commuters with special needs who prefer the unmodified trains can still have adequate access to seats.”

Last year, a decade since it decided to remove seats to increase passenger capacity, the LTA announced that it would implement ‘tip-up seats’ on new MRT trains to increase standing space during peak hours.

Train drivers who operate the news trains with ‘tip-up seats’ will keep the seats folded during the morning and evening peak hours to allow for more standing room and unfold the seats during off-peak hours to increase seating capacity.

The initiative received immense backlash from netizens online who rejected the ‘tip-up seats’ innovation as a “stupid idea”.

《荒凉人生》地铁车厢拆了更多座位,明显就是要增加载客量。但,正因如此,普通位及"保留位"自然也跟着减少递减,这就直接影响到了必须搭乘地铁出门的老龄人士。当应该设有座位的地铁车厢没有了座位,当保留座位被年轻人占据而"一位难寻",当腿力渐无的情况下,老龄人士只能低下头,接受这个残忍荒凉的现实"席地而坐"了。

Posted by Sue Goh on Sunday, June 9, 2019

-/TISG

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