Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

Online portal and appreciation wall part of new initiatives to build a caring commuting culture

SINGAPORE – Commuters will soon be able to share inspiring stories of care that they have witnessed or received during their commute on an online portal that will be launched in September.

The portal, which is one in a series of new initiatives by the Caring SG Commuters Committee, will also allow more effective engagement with commuters on how to shape an inclusive, caring and gracious commuting culture.

This new move was announced at a virtual event held on Saturday (Aug 29) for the unveiling of an appreciation wall at Kent Ridge MRT station.

The wall, which was created by students from the National University of Singapore Students’ Union (NUSSU) in partnership with the Caring SG Commuters Committee, will give commuters an opportunity to pen messages of appreciation to front line workers in the fight against Covid-19.

The virtual event was attended by Minister of Transport Ong Ye Kung, public transport workers and staff from the National University Hospital (NUH), as well as students representing NUSSU.

Care packs that included a hand sanitiser, a food and beverage voucher and light snacks had been sent by the committee and received by the public transport workers and staff.

Mr Shaun Tan, internal vice-president of NUSSU, said during the virtual event that NUSSU decided to embark on this initiative with the committee to show their support, gratitude and care for front-line heroes who have been working hard behind the scenes.

“We wanted to work with the Public Transport Council to see how we can create this caring culture towards our front-line heroes, not only amongst our students but amongst public commuters as well. A public appreciation wall is actually a very special part of NUSSU’s history as we had a very similar initiative during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak.”

Ms Grace Ting, a senior staff nurse from NUH, praised the appreciation wall initiative and said: “We are glad that students are involved in this, playing a role in increasing the community’s awareness that public transport is not only for an individual to get from work to home but for everyone to play a role in creating an inclusive society where even the elderly and handicapped are able to travel to their desired destination.”

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung (left) viewing the appreciation wall at Kent Ridge MRT station on Aug 29, 2020. Accompanying him are (from left) SMRT chairman Seah Moon Ming and SMRT Group CEO Neo Kian Hong. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH 

Other new initiatives by the Caring SG Commuters Committee, which was formed in January this year, include a video campaign that will be launched in September to raise awareness of the challenges faced by commuters with special needs, such as those with disabilities and medical conditions, and the fellow commuters who help them.

Through a series of short films based on real life experiences, the committee hopes to build a sense of empathy and showcase everyday heroes. The video series will be rolled out monthly on the online portal as well as on social media. The public can follow the Caring SG Commuters Facebook and Instagram pages to stay updated on the launch of the online portal and video series.

The committee also continues to work with public transport operators on an ongoing pilot programme, where commuters with invisible medical conditions can obtain a special sticker to alert fellow commuters that they require a seat.

Mr Ong said: “We live in difficult times with Covid-19 and in these times, people can be trapped at home. Our activities are being restricted… jobs are affected, incomes are affected… But I think we can always fall back on the kindness and the help of our fellow Singaporeans, and our family and friends around us. And this has been a source of strength for all of us.”

The committee will also organise the annual Caring Commuter Award in recognition and celebration of everyday heroes on public transport. Nominations for the awards are now open and can be submitted online.

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