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Opening Remarks by Minister for Transport Mr S Iswaran for the Caring SG Commuters Committee’s Inaugural Caring Commuter Week and Our Caring Commuting Journey Report Launch Event

27 Nov 2021 Speeches

President Halimah Yacob 

Mr Richard Magnus, Chairman of the Public Transport Council and the Caring SG Commuters Committee, 

Colleagues from LTA, and our industry partners, public transport operators

Ladies and gentlemen

Introduction

1.     A very good morning to all of you. Thank you very much for joining us today.  Let me begin by extending a warm welcome, and also our deepest appreciation to President Halimah Yacob, for graciously accepting our invitation to grace this event, which is a special one.

Efforts to foster a caring commuting culture

2.     Our public transport experience is an aggregate of our interactions with fellow commuters and public transport workers.  Our daily commute is not only about moving from point A to point B, but it is also about how we navigate shared spaces as a community.  Fostering a gracious and caring culture in our public transport ecosystem can make a significant difference in the lived experience of millions of commuters and public transport workers. 

3.     In 2009, LTA began campaigns to promote graciousness in public transport, through acts of thoughtful behaviour such as queueing and giving up seats to those who need them more.  In 2014, it introduced the Thoughtful Bunch campaign to encourage us that we can emulate acts of graciousness advocated by the characters and improve the experience of our fellow commuters. The first Heart Zone at Outram Park MRT station was launched in 2017, as a joint initiative of the Public Transport Council (PTC), LTA, public transport operators (PTOs) and the community. 

4.     To further galvanise the community into action and drive efforts to foster a caring commuter culture, the Caring SG Commuters Committee was established last year.  By bringing together key players in the public transport and social sectors, the Committee’s members can complement each other’s strengths to bring ideas into fruition. 

Propelling the movement through ground-up initiatives

5.     Since its formation last year, the Committee has been hard at work.  The Caring SG Commuters Portal was launched to facilitate greater interaction with the community, and provide an avenue for commuters to share inspiring stories. In addition, the Heart Zone initiative has been expanded to eight locations since 2017,  and three more will be launched this week. 

6.     The PTOs together with the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) have also joined hands in these important effort. Tower Transit Singapore organised the inaugural Public Bus Inclusivity Course to provide hands-on training on assisting commuters with mobility challenges and disabilities. SBS Transit conducted bus and escalator safety awareness campaigns for the elderly, while SMRT’s training programme has included education on assisting commuters with dementia.  Go-Ahead Singapore commenced the ‘Helping Hand’ trial, to enable commuters with mobility needs to signal discreetly to bus captains if they need help.  All these efforts are most welcome and commendable, and I thank the Committee and all our partners and stakeholders for laying a strong foundation for all of us to build on.

7.     So, taking these efforts forward, today’s occasion is especially important. It marks another significant milestone, as we expand the caring commuter movement, and we extend it to a national movement, nation-wide. While the efforts of the Committee and the public transport stakeholders are important, and a foundation, it is only by collaborating closely with the community that we can build a culture where showing care for fellow commuters becomes a way of life. Many of you here today have already contributed in your own ways to this noble mission.  To strengthen this, the Committee will seek to broaden and deepen the involvement of the community to catalyse and sustain this movement. We can expect more ground-up initiatives to ride on the initial momentum and propel this movement.  With the Committee, community, and commuters working hand in hand, I have no doubt that we can create a caring culture in our daily commute that we can all be proud of. 

Conclusion 

8.     To conclude, I want to thank all who have been actively contributing towards this effort to foster a caring commuting culture, and to create a more gracious society. In particular, I would also like to express my gratitude to Madam President for gracing today’s occasion. Madam President, your support and presence here today is a great source of inspiration and encouragement for all of us.  Let me now invite Madam President to address us.