Stroller restraint system for buses begins trial

Stroller restraint system for buses begins trial
A prototype stroller restraint system being demonstrated in a preview. The system, designed for strollers that face forward or backward, will be tested on SBS Transit Service 69 from today. PHOTO: Wee Teck Hian
LTA to get feedback from parents, bus captains to further refine the prototype
Published: 4:00 AM, June 29, 2017
Updated: 7:39 AM, June 29, 2017

SINGAPORE — Nearly three months after unfolded strollers were allowed on public buses, a prototype of a restraint system for these baby carriages will hit the roads today as part of a trial.

The system, developed by Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Design, will be tested on one double-deck bus, Service 69, run by SBS Transit. The route was chosen because it zips through housing estates and schools in Bedok and Tampines, serving largely families and residents bound for the Tampines Bus Interchange and MRT station, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday.

Placed in the space designated for wheelchairs, the prototype is designed for strollers that face forward or backward.

Users may insert a stroller’s side handle into one of two handle-slots: Forward-facing strollers use the slot closer to the front of the bus, while backward-facing strollers use the one nearer to the rear.

They should then apply the stroller’s brakes and secure the baby carriage with the system’s retractable seat belt. Commuters are encouraged to use the restraint even as they hold on to the stroller during the ride.

The LTA did not disclose a working schedule for the trial, saying it would be canvassing feedback on the system from parents, bus captains and other stakeholders. This would allow it to “further refine the system”.

The authority had worked with several institutes of higher learning — including the NUS High School of Mathematics and Science and Nanyang Polytechnic — to come up with designs for stroller restraint systems. Temasek Polytechnic’s prototype was picked, and later customised and fabricated by ST Kinetics, the land systems and speciality vehicle arm of Singapore Technologies Engineering.

Mr Jordan Ang, 20, a product and industrial design graduate from Temasek Polytechnic, came up with the concept and design as part of his final-year project. The main considerations were ease of use and child safety. In the initial stages, overseas examples, such as those from Japan and Germany, were considered.

On seeing his product on a bus, he said: “The feeling’s quite unbelievable … It’s also quite refreshing to see my design being used for the public.”

Since April 2, commuters have been allowed to take strollers on public buses without having to fold them. The move was part of the Government’s efforts to create a more user-friendly public transport system for commuters, including families with young children.

While some parents who spoke to TODAY welcomed the new restraint system, others were concerned about how it is used and maintained.

Ms Shazween Mahmood, 31, said that bus drivers have to cooperate as well, such as by not moving off without waiting for the pram to be strapped in properly. Ms Raifanah Mohd Ramli, 30, is concerned about not having enough time to unlatch the strollers before alighting.

Another parent, Mr Darren Chew, 41, is hoping that the system would be “serviced regularly”, while Mr Mohammad Azri Mohammad Ali, 40, was sceptical about using the restraints during peak hours.

“Singaporeans are very kancheong’ (anxious and in a rush). It’d be seriously difficult (to use the restraint). I still prefer holding onto the stroller by hand, unless there’s no one in the bus,” Mr Azri said.