SMRT rolls out new, first-of-its-kind features at Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange

SMRT rolls out new, first-of-its-kind features at Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Free buggy services, interactive panels to help commuters plan trips, and Braille guidance on handrails to help the visually impaired are just some of the innovative features at the Woodlands Temporary Bus Interchange (TBI).

Although only an interim arrangement, transport operator SMRT has installed a host of new, first-of-its-kind features to ensure the needs of commuters are taken care of.

The new interchange, which was officially launched on Saturday (Mar 12) has bus boarding and alighting berths stretching nearly half a kilometer, making it one of the longest bus interchanges in Singapore. Therefore, a free buggy service will be available for commuters who may need assistance to get to berths at the extreme ends of the interchange.

The temporary interchange also introduces a tactile guidance system, which includes Braille guidance on handrails, which can help the visually impaired locate waiting areas.

There will also be new interactive panels that allow commuters learn about travel options in the area.

Meanwhile, the new interchange also ensures the comfort and needs of staff are not neglected. In another first, a SMART bus guidance system will display information on large panels so that bus captains can see which alighting berths and parking bays are avaiable.

An air-conditioned staff lounge and a canteen with various food stalls also provide a comfortable rest area for bus captains and interchange staff.

Woodlands TBI will serve residents for three years until 2019 as the Woodlands Regional Interchange undergoes upgrading and construction of an underpass.

Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan was at the interchange today for its first day of operations. He was accompanied by MPs from the Sembawang and Marsiling-Yew Tee Group Representation Constiuencies, including Acting Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, Parliament speaker Madam Halimah Yacob, and Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin.

Mr Tan Kian Heong, vice president of SMRT Buses, said: "Although the relocation is temporary, we aim to provide our commuters and staff with the service standards found in a fully operational, permanent bus interchange."

He added that the TBI allows trials of advanced technology and commuter-friendly features, and hoped commuters would be able to enjoy the new service enhancements.

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