'Little things' can ease commute

20131223_PMlee_ST.jpg

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (centre) taking a ride along the new Downtown Line on Dec 21, 2013. With him are (from left) Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo and Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew.

Commuters can do many little things to make journeys more pleasant even as they await improvements to public transport infrastructure to be completed, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Saturday.

Speaking at the opening of the Downtown Line Stage 1, he urged commuters to give up their seats to those who need them more and queue for trains instead of jostling at the doors to enter.

Citing train passengers in Tokyo and Seoul as positive examples, he said he is glad that more Singaporeans are giving up seats for others, and queuing even at crowded stations such as City Hall. Displaying such social graces makes commuting more pleasant, he said.

The six-station, 4.3km Downtown Line 1 begins operating today from Chinatown to Bugis.

The trains boast several new features, including priority seats with bright designs. Referring to the latter, Mr Lee said: "Once in a while, you find a young man pretending to be asleep when a pregnant lady is standing by or an old gentleman.

"So, just to remind them before they fall asleep not to use that chair, the trains on the Downtown Line have now got special chairs. There is no reason you won't notice when you sit down there."

The issue of graciousness has come to the fore in recent years, amid a steady growth in ridership that often leads to overcrowded trains and buses.

Become a fan on Facebook