Travel With Ease: How Singapore Is Catering to Visitors with Special Accessibility Needs
Asia-Pacific, Built Environment, Tourism, May 8 2018
SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA: With an aging population, Singapore has been tackling accessibility needs head-on with a series of changes to the city’s infrastructure. Today, it’s one of the most travel-friendly cities in the world for those with accessibility needs, so if you’re looking for delicious Asian food and a cultural adventure, Singapore makes a great vacation destination. New York travel company AllTheRooms has the lowdown on how Singapore has become a top, accessible vacation destination.
Getting Around the City
The city’s public transport systems cater to the needs of many. The train system, known as Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), is new, sleek and fully accessible. All stations have been kitted out with at least one access route and over 80 percent of MRT stations have at least two barrier-free access routes and nearly half of stations have lifts. Meanwhile, around 80 percent of buses are wheelchair accessible, and the government is aiming to up this to 100 percent by 2020. Check which bus routes in Singapore are accessible.
If you want to take a taxi, normal cabs can only accept manual wheelchairs, which means wheelchair users will have to transfer into the car. Taxi apps, such as Uber, have an UberAssist option, where you can find drivers that are trained to help transfer wheelchair-users into their cars. Meanwhile, if your wheelchair is motorized and cannot be folded, there are taxi companies that offer specialized transportation services to people with disabilities, such as “All-in-one SPACE”, which has cars with enough space to fit a wheelchair.
Singapore is aiming to make all of its main public buildings, such as shopping centers, markets, food centers, libraries and museums fully accessible. Buildings must make barrier-free accessibility upgrades (such as a ramp or stair-lift and at least one wheelchair-accessible toilet) when the buildings undergo additional work or upgrades. At the moment, many of the city’s buildings already have access routes and top tourist sites such as shopping malls, museums and landmarks are accessible.
Singapore is famous for its large, air-conditioned shopping malls and many have great access, including ION on Orchard Road and VivoCity on Harbourfront. If you want to check whether a building is accessible ahead of your visit, you can check for ‘friendly’ buildings in Singapore.
Best Accessible Attractions and Sites
There are tons of things to see and do in Singapore, and some of the best attractions include the Gardens By the Bay, which are beautiful city gardens filled with tropical plants. As of July 2016, Gardens by the Bay introduced a fleet of wheelchair-friendly passenger shuttles which have foldable access ramps at the rear and transport passengers from the nearby Bayfront MRT station to the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome Conservatories for free.
Meanwhile, the National Museum of Singapore, which is housed in a former 19th-century library building, has good access routes. The whole building has been renovated and designed to be wheelchair friendly. It has smooth access to the galleries and exhibition rooms and accessible bathrooms on all floors.
Henderson Waves, which is the tallest wood-paneled bridge in Singapore, is one of the city’s top attractions and offers an incredible view of the city. The bridge is easy to visit for those in a wheelchair or mobility device. Offering an equally beautiful view of the city is the Singapore Flyer, which is a giant ferris wheel. Staff can adjust the speed of the wheel to allow wheelchair-users to board with ease.
Singapore is a wonderful city to explore and the city has made a conscious effort to make sure everyone can explore all it has to offer.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, check out all types of accommodation in Singapore.
Carmela Rodriguez is a Journalist from London. She quit the rainy UK and moved to sunny Medellin, Colombia, where she is a Content Writer for Alltherooms.com. Her favorite travel adventures have been staying at a hostel in the middle of the Caribbean sea and riding a motorbike in Vietnam