Mr Ong Hua Han asked the Minister for Transport in light of the refurbishment of over 600 public buses nearing their 10th year of operation, whether LTA will consider
i. re-evaluating automated ramps on these buses for easier boarding and alighting for commuters with mobility devices and
ii. addressing the challenges identified in the trial conducted from September 2017 to March 2018.
Reply by Acting Minister for Transport Chee Hong Tat:
1. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) conducted a trial of automated ramps from September 2017 to March 2018. During the trial, LTA observed operational issues, such as longer stopping times at bus stops as more time was needed to safely deploy the automated ramp, and disruptions to bus service when the automated ramp failed to properly deploy. Given these issues and the high cost of retrofitting existing buses with automated ramps, LTA has no plans to do so on public buses due for midlife refurbishment. These buses will continue to be equipped with manual ramps, which can be deployed by bus captains to facilitate boarding and alighting by commuters on mobility devices.
2. Nevertheless, we recognise that technology will improve over time, and we are open to new solutions. LTA has included an option for automated ramps in its latest electric bus tender, and we will assess the proposals to see if there are feasible options that can be implemented on our new buses.