Wheelchair Accessible Bus Routes

Wheelchair Accessible Bus Routes, as the name implies, are bus routes which allow for the carriage of Passengers-in-wheelchair (PIW). Personal mobility aids, such as mobility scooters, are also allowed onboard,

Since 2006, all new public buses in Singapore are wheelchair-accessible. These wheelchair-accessible buses (WABs) typically feature a low-floor or low-entry layout with step-free access at the rear door. A manual wheelchair ramp is installed at the rear door, and up to 2 wheelchair bays would be installed on board. The Bus Captain would assist with ramp deployment and assisting PIWs with boarding/alighting and fare payment.

All public bus services are wheelchair-accessible from 17 October 2019.

History

Wheelchair-accessible buses were first announced in on 15 February 2006 when SBS Transit unveiled the Volvo B9TL (CDGE), a prototype low-entry double-decker bus and the first of its kind in Singapore. Built locally by ComfortDelGro Engineering, a total of 150 buses of the type were on order, and scheduled for assembly by the end of 2006 (this was later increased to 200 buses).

The introduction of wheelchair-accessible bus travel was in partnership with LTA and various welfare organizations. LTA also helped to fund the incremental capital cost of providing manual ramps and associated features (such as the dedicated PIW alighting bell-push, padded backrest, and associated grab poles and stanchion poles), as well as improving bus stop infrastructure to make them more friendly to wheelchair-bound passengers (PIWs).

The first wheelchair-accessible bus service was launched on Monday, 26 June 2006 with the introduction of 10 new Volvo B9TL (CDGE) buses to SBS Transit Service 21 plying between Pasir Ris and St. Michaels. Service 21 was chosen to be the first WAB service after consultation with Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) and the Land Transport Authority. It runs past the premises of the Handicaps Welfare Association (HWA) in Whampoa, enabling members to gain direct access to major town centres like Pasir Ris, Tampines and Bedok. It also provides connections to Tan Tock Seng Hospital and other medical facilities.

Service 21, after the intake of 10 new WABs, had a fleet size of 23 buses. This ensured that PIWs could board a WAB every one or two buses of waiting. All PIWs were also entitled to free travel until the end of July that year.

In addition to the Volvo B9TL, SBS Transit also ordered 1100 low-entry Scania K230UBs buses to replace their ageing buses following a successful trial. The Euro IV batch featured two wheelchair bays, while the later Euro V batch had just one, replacing one wheelchair berth with three side-facing seats.

Following up on strong PIW demand, on 30 October 2006, SBS Transit Service 147 became the second WAB to be launched, with 19 new WABs in the fleet of 37 buses, once again ensuring that PIWs could board a WAB every one or two buses of waiting. Two months later, on 3 December 2006, Service 12, 196 and 198 were now wheelchair-accessible services. With more WABs being introduced into SBS Transit’s fleet, such as the Volvo B9TL Wright and Mercedes-Benz Citaro, more WAB services were progressively introduced.

SMRT Buses WAB OC500LE
SMRT Buses WAB OC500LE

SMRT Buses also introduced its own wheelchair-accessible buses, a fleet of low-entry Mercedes-Benz OC500LE buses with bodywork by Gemilang Coachworks. Like the Volvo B9TL, this low-entry bus also had zero-step entrances but two wheelchair berths instead of one. SMRT introduced its first wave of WAB services on 1 June 2009, with services 171, 172, 189, 307, 811, 851 and 945.

After the successful WAB trials, all newer buses acquired by SBS Transit and SMRT Buses are equipped with wheelchair-friendly features such as wheelchair ramps.

Wheelchair-accessible buses

Any wheelchair-accessible bus (WAB) has a wheelchair decal on the front windscreen. WABs can be deployed on non-WAB services but are not allowed to pick up any PIWs. However, with the increasing proportion of wheelchair-accessible buses on Singapore roads, the wheelchair decal is not mandatory.

WABs are typically equipped with a manual ramp at the rear exit door. The wheelchair bay is usually located on the right of the bus, opposite the exit door. PIWs are required to rest their wheelchair against a backrest (a horizontal cushion) while the bus is in motion. In addition, some buses provide a seat belt around the backrest. On newer SMRT buses like the Mercedes-Benz Citaro and the MAN A22, the backrest doubles up as a foldable seat while there are no PIWs onboard. WABs also come with a special bell for PIWs to alert the driver when they intend to alight, though this bell is frequently misused by other passengers.

Drivers on WAB routes are trained on how to handle PIWs onboard. The driver will stop the bus closer to kerb, allow other passengers to alight first, before assisting the PIW onboard. The driver will deploy the manual ramp and ensure that the PIW is secured with the back of the wheelchair leaning on the backrest and in the lock position. Finally, the driver will assist the PIW with fare payment before opening the front door to allow other passengers onboard. When alighting, the PIW will press the PIW bell to alert the driver, and the driver will assist him off the bus at the next stop.

Bus Stops

Some bus stops are inaccessible to PIWs owing to site conditions; usually when there are steps leading up to the kerb edge or when there are no footpaths leading to the bus stop. As of 2016, 137 bus stops were not yet wheelchair-accessible, which represented less than 3% of the 4,700 bus stops in Singapore. The LTA has targeted to upgrade all these bus stops by 2020.

PIWs are also not allowed across the border, and cross-border bus services only allow PIWs along the Singapore sectors.


Timeline:

Wheelchair-Accessible Bus Service Implementation (Jun 2006 – Oct 2019)
Date Bus Services Operator
26 Jun 2006 21 SBS Transit
30 Oct 2006 147
3 Dec 2006 12, 196, 198
22 May 2007 2, 51, 72, 76
20 Aug 2007 7, 80
17 Dec 2007 143
14 Jul 2008 14, 123, 174, 185
2 Dec 2008 64, 130, 183, 199, 232, 268
1 Jun 2009 171, 172, 189, 307, 811, 851, 945 SMRT Buses
26 Oct 2009 3, 27, 34, 53, 142, 293, 358, 410 SBS Transit
3 Dec 2009 13, 15, 36, 52, 54, 57, 291, 333
28 Feb 2010 29, 63, 113, 265, 334, 359
28 Jun 2010 45, 48, 59, 94, 240, 242
18 Oct 2010 43, 95, 181, 228, 235
29 Nov 2010 858 SMRT Buses
2 Dec 2010 24, 86, 151, 225, 231, 335 SBS Transit
7 Mar 2011 18, 22, 55, 60, 135, 136, 162, 162M, 241, 261, 269
27 Jun 2011 5, 17, 38, 39, 99, 194, 354, 400, 402
26 Sep 2011 19, 100, 109, 133, 138, 154, 156, 315, 317
3 Dec 2011 16, 30, 87, 101, 131, 175, 272, 273, 275, 282, 284, 285, 292, 403
61, 855, 920, 922, 950 SMRT Buses
26 Mar 2012 10, 25, 58, 66, 69, 105, 165, 168 SBS Transit
29 Apr 2012 187, 852, 857, 970 SMRT Buses
25 Jun 2012 33, 78, 79, 96, 97, 98, 98M, 124, 125, 197, 243G, 243W SBS Transit
1 Jul 2012 75, 77, 177, 700, 700A SMRT Buses
30 Sep 2012 56, 128, 163, 163M, 166, 186, 195, 229, 502, 506 SBS Transit
15 Nov 2012 167, 859, 860, 966, 980, 985 SMRT Buses
3 Dec 2012 32, 70, 70M, 73, 93, 111, 238, 325, 372, 518 SBS Transit
31 Mar 2013 4, 50, 62, 82, 116, 119, 132, 158, 513
21 Apr 2013 173, 882, 941, 981 SMRT Buses
9 Jun 2013 85, 88, 112, 120, 145, 222 SBS Transit
7 Jul 2013 902, 965, 969 SMRT Buses
29 Sep 2013 178, 853, 904, 947
30 Sep 2013 20, 141, 157, 182, 182M, 192 SBS Transit
3 Dec 2013 6, 40, 90, 139
2 Mar 2014 803, 927, 961, 972 SMRT Buses
23 Mar 2014 26, 35, 49, 65, 161 SBS Transit
29 Jun 2014 83, 121, 155, 371
29 Sep 2014 11, 42, 74, 92, 386
3 Dec 2014 9, 17A, 43M, 91, 103, 115, CT8, CT18
22 Mar 2015 176, 188, 990 SMRT Buses
30 Mar 2015 41, 140, 159, 201, 324, 405 SBS Transit
14 Jun 2015 106, 190, 301, 804, 911, 963, 983 SMRT Buses
22 Jun 2015 31, 89, 122, 200 SBS Transit
16 Aug 2015 53M
30 Aug 2015 92M
20 Sep 2015 102
28 Sep 2015 28, 153, 74e, 97e, 174e
11 Oct 2015 67, 169, 854, 901, 925 SMRT Buses
21 Nov 2015 258 SBS Transit
3 Dec 2015 14e, 89e, 107, 107M, 151e, 179
20 Dec 2015 47, 117, 118
27 Dec 2015 979 SMRT Buses
3 Jan 2016 382G, 382W SBS Transit
25 Jan 2016 30e, 196e, 246, 249, 251, 252, 253, 254, 255, 256, 257
14 Feb 2016 805 SMRT Buses
20 Mar 2016 134, 150 SBS Transit
21 Mar 2016 181M
28 Mar 2016 1N, 2N, 3N, 4N, 5N, 6N, 408, 552, 553, 554, 565, 585, CT28
3 Apr 2016 302, 800, 812, 903, 912, 913, 960, 962 SMRT Buses
21 Apr 2016 979M
15 May 2016 308
27 Jun 2016 10e, 37, 533, 534, 535, 536, 538, 539, 544, 545, 549, 555, 560, 561, 563, 564 SBS Transit
1 Sep 2016 240M
912M SMRT Buses
23 Oct 2016 883
18 Dec 2016 127, 129 SBS Transit
26 Dec 2016 262
13 Feb 2017 193
26 Feb 2017 973 SMRT Buses
12 Mar 2017 374 SBS Transit
381 Go-Ahead Singapore
13 Apr 2017 653 SMRT Buses
17 Apr 2017 656
24 Apr 2017 657
18 Jun 2017 247, 248 SBS Transit
9 Jul 2017 329
16 Jul 2017 180, 806, 926, 975 SMRT Buses
84 Go-Ahead Singapore
21 Aug 2017 8, 23, 46, 81, 160, 170, 170A, 170X, 191, 401, 655 SBS Transit
27 Aug 2017 944 SMRT Buses
17 Sep 2017 850E, 856, 868, 951E, 971E, 982E, BPS1
28 Sep 2017 663 Tower Transit
12 Oct 2017 665
21 Oct 2017 137, 298 SBS Transit
22 Oct 2017 110 SMRT Buses
9 Dec 2017 71 SBS Transit
17 Dec 2017 184, 300, 900, NR1, NR2, NR3, NR5, NR6, NR7, NR8 SMRT Buses
28 Jan 2018 147e SBS Transit
12e Go-Ahead Singapore
1 Apr 2018 68
27 May 2018 851e SBS Transit
8 Jul 2018 991 SMRT Buses
28 Oct 2018 960e
25 Nov 2018 167e
2 Jan 2019 660 SBS Transit
661 Go-Ahead Singapore
17 Mar 2019 913M SMRT Buses
23 Jun 2019 901M
22 Jul 2019 654 SBS Transit
9 Sep 2019 43e Go-Ahead Singapore
17 Oct 2019 825 SMRT Buses

From 17 October 2019, all public bus services are wheelchair-accessible.

New bus routes introduced after 17 October 2019 and City Direct bus routes handed over to Public Transport Operators.

10 Nov 2019 976 SMRT Buses
6 Jan 2020 652 SMRT Buses
12 Jan 2020 883M SMRT Buses
13 Jan 2020 651 Tower Transit
671, 672 SBS Transit
2 Mar 2020 666 Go-Ahead Singapore
9 Mar 2020 16M, 667 SBS Transit
30 Mar 2020 670 SMRT Buses

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2 thoughts on “Wheelchair Accessible Bus Routes

  • 8 July 2017 at 2:43 PM
    Permalink

    Some bus stops are not wheelchair accessible. Which authority upgrades them and can we write in to request to make them wheelchair accessible??

    Reply
    • 16 June 2018 at 9:33 AM
      Permalink

      Yes, the arrival app tells that all the buses of service 151 are non-wheelchair accessible.

      Reply

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