New fleet of specially retrofitted vehicles for the disabled unveiled

New fleet of specially retrofitted vehicles for the disabled unveiled

SINGAPORE - Eleven retrofitted vehicles for people with special needs will be unveiled at the Wheel, Walk or Jog (WWJ) 2015, organised by the Handicaps Welfare Association. The WWJ is an annual event to promote awareness and socialization among persons with disabilities and the general public.

The Special Vehicles Fleet will be presented for the first time at WWJ.

These vehicles, comprising 10 Toyota Hiace and a Toyota Coaster, have been specially retrofitted as transportation for people with mobility-related disabilities for the purposes of work, school, vocational training, hospital and rehabilitation visits, and recreational activities. This special fleet is part of Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)'s initiative to provide dedicated transport service to persons with disabilities.

The purchase and retrofitting of this fleet was funded by MSF and the Care & Share Movement, led by Community Chest and donations from partners.

Mr Edmund Wan, President of Handicaps Welfare Association, said: "The donation of these specially adapted vehicles is very timely to meet the increasing needs of people with disabilities, especially those who are using motorized wheelchairs and scooters, as public transport including some taxis are not equipped to support their needs."

He added: "This special fleet is one of the first outcomes from the Care & Share Movement, a national fund-raising and volunteerism movement led by Community Chest for the social service sector, in celebration of SG50. The donations from our partners for HWA's special vehicles fleet were matched dollar-for-dollar by the government under the Movement."

These special vehicles will add to HWA's current transport fleet of 23 vehicles and expand its special-needs transport service, which HWA has been running since 1980, to meet the increasing demand from passengers with disabilities. HWA has been providing on average 40,000 trips per year to more than 1000 clients.

The donated fleet is fitted with hydraulic lift and wheelchair securement system. The former raises wheel-chaired passengers aboard the bus and disembarks them upon reaching their destination, while the latter puts the brake on the wheelchairs when vehicles are on the move to ensure a secure and comfortable ride for passengers.

The modified Toyota Hiace has a seating capacity for four wheelchair passengers and four sitting passengers, while the Toyota Coaster takes in seven wheelchair passengers and seven sitting passengers.

In addition, all eleven buses have high roofs to accommodate wheelchairs with high backs.

Such modifications have made a difference to the lives of persons with disabilities in enabling hassle free and comfortable travelling. cynloh@sph.com.sg

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