Public buses and trains
Public buses and trains are the cheapest mode of transport, and have several features to provide better access to persons with disabilities. Commuters can pay even less if they are eligible for concession schemes.
Accessibility features in public buses and trains
The two largest public bus and train operators in Singapore are SBS Transit and SMRT.
More than half the public buses are wheelchair-accessible. To identify these buses, keep a lookout for a blue passenger-in-wheelchair decal at the front of the bus. More information on wheelchair-accessible buses and bus stops can be found below:
Trains and train stations also have various accessibility features. These include tactile indicators on the floor for people with visual impairment, wider fare gates for wheelchair users, and information on station platforms about the arrival time and destination of the approaching train.
Now there is a way to help you decide if you need to take an alternative travel route to reach your destination. MyTransport.SG, a mobile app that offers travelling information and features to help commuters get around, has included a new feature to inform commuters about planned lift service maintenance at MRT and LRT stations. For step-by-step instructions to access the lift maintenance feature, click here.
Children up to 0.9m in height and accompanied by a fare-paying commuter can travel for free. For other commuters, a range of concession cards are available to offset the cost of public transport.
Public Transport Concession for Persons with Disabilities
The PTC card
is a dedicated card for persons with disabilities. It gives persons with disabilities a 25% discount off adult fares when travelling on public buses and trains. Holders of the PTC card can concurrently be on other transport subsidy schemes.
Persons with disabilities who have attended special education schools or are members of relevant SSAs (previously known as VWOs) are automatically eligible and can apply directly through the TransitLink website. Otherwise, they can apply through SG Enable, who will assess the eligibility.
Other transport concession cards
There are various concession cards catering to different groups of commuters:
Persons with disabilities can also apply for the above concession cards if they meet the eligibility criteria. These cards offer better concessions than the PTC card. More details on application procedures can be found on the TransitLink website (go to ‘Products & Services’).
Taxis and private hire cars
For persons with disabilities who find commuting by public transport very challenging, taxis and private-hire cars, such as Grab, are an alternative. They also take you right to your doorstep – a necessity for some persons with disabilities. However, the cost adds up, especially if one needs to take taxis and private-hire cars regularly.
Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TSS)
subsidises up to 80% of the taxi fare incurred by persons with disabilities who:
- Go to mainstream school, work or attend training courses supported by SG Enable, and
- Are certified by a doctor to be able to only travel by taxi
This scheme also covers travel on private-hire services such as Grab.
The level of subsidy is determined through a means-test – Singapore citizens and PRs must have a per capita income of not more than $2,600/month to qualify. People on this scheme cannot concurrently be on the VWO Transport Subsidy scheme or VWOTS (below).
Persons with disabilities can also make special long-term arrangements with taxi/ Grab drivers on an informal basis.
Taxis for users of larger wheelchairs
Some taxis, such as SMRT’s London taxi, can accommodate larger wheelchairs, such as motorised and high-back wheelchairs. These taxi fares can be subsidised by TSS too if the other eligibility criteria are met.
Dedicated transport service
Transport operators which offer this service for persons with disabilities have specially retrofitted vehicles that can cater to wheelchairs, including high-back wheelchairs, and provide point-to-point transport. These retrofitted vehicles have features such as safety restraint systems, ramps and hydraulic lifts.
For a list of operators with dedicated transport service for persons with disabilities, see below:
VWO Transport Subsidy (VWOTS)
The VWOTS supports subsidies of up to 80% of the transport fee of persons with disabilities who regularly use transport services provided by voluntary welfare organisations (VWOs) to attend special education (SPED) school or care services.
Eligible school and care services include Early Intervention Programme for Infant and Children (EIPIC) centres, day activity centres, sheltered workshops and SPED schools.
The subsidy scheme is means-tested – to be eligible, the monthly per capita household income of Singapore citizens should be $2,600 or less, while for PRs, it should be $1,800 or less. People on this scheme cannot concurrently be on TSS (above). Interested applicants should apply for VWOTS through the SPED school or VWO where they are accessing services.
Private personal cars
Owning a personal car is a costly affair in Singapore. With the range of other transport options available, car owners are mostly on their own when it comes to cost of ownership.
The Driving Assessment and Rehabilitation Programme (DARP) at Tan Tock Seng Hospital assists people with medical conditions to learn or return to driving. A client has to be first referred by a registered doctor, then a DARP therapist will assess his ability to learn or return to driving safely and legally. If there is a need for driving lessons or re-assessment, the DARP therapist will follow-up accordingly.
Cars can be modified to enable persons with disabilities to operate the vehicle, or to facilitate the transportation of persons with disabilities. These could include the installation of safety restraint systems and ramps. Some modifications require approval from the Land Transport Authority (LTA), some are allowed and do not require approval, and some are not allowed at all. For more information, click on the link below:
Handicaps Welfare Association sells assistive devices to help drivers with disabilities operate their vehicle, such as left-foot accelerators (for manipulating the car’s accelerator and brake pedals), and steering knobs (which can be fixed onto the steering wheel, allowing drivers with a weak grip to steer the vehicle with ease).
The government does not subsidise the cost of these modifications.
Car Park Label Scheme (CPLS)
Car park operators are required to provide handicap parking lots which are larger than regular lots. These can only be used by vehicles displaying valid labels under the Car Park Label Scheme (CPLS).
CPLS caters to drivers and passengers who have certain mobility challenges and as a result, need more space to board or get off a vehicle safely. Drivers can apply for a Class 1 (blue) label; passengers for a Class 2 (orange) label. The benefits of the labels differ. Motorcyclists are not eligible for CPLS.
In general, the applicants (the driver for Class 1 labels and the passenger for Class 2) must be certified by a Singapore-registered medical doctor as requiring the use of bulky mobility aids and a wider space for boarding and alighting. Bulky mobility aids refer specifically to wheelchairs, walking frames and lower limb prostheses. For more information on this, click on the link below:
There are penalties for misusing the handicap lots and/ or the label, including fines. Members of the public who wish to report alleged misuse can direct feedback to the carpark operator (e.g. Housing Development Board, Land Transport Authority, shopping malls).
CPLS label-holders can also apply for other transport schemes, such as the PTC card and TSS, if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Assistive technology for independent travelling
There are apps and devices that help persons with disabilities get to their destination more independently, with less uncertainty for them and their caregivers. More information can be found on our Assistive Technology page.