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Building Empathy Among Youths

May 31, 2024, 18:52 PM

31 May 2024

Title : Building Empathy Among Youths
Abstract : Students from ITE College West share important lessons they had learnt after participating in Tower Transit Singapore’s Public Bus Inclusivity Course.

Group photo featuring the trainers and participants
Source: Public Transport Council


On 24th May 2024, 12 ITE College West students took part in Tower Transit Singapore (TTS)’s Public Bus Inclusivity Course (PBIC), held at Jurong Town Hall Bus Interchange. TTS hopes to encourage students to experience first-hand the challenges Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) face through the PBIC. Through their collaboration with several schools, they have trained 222 students.


Jonah Ng experiencing how it would be like to alight from the bus without his vision
Source: Public Transport Council


One of the participants, Jonah Ng, felt that the PBIC was an eye-opening learning experience. Role-playing as a visually impaired commuter, he donned a blindfold and had to use a guide cane for navigation. He felt stressed and anxious, wondering if he might fall, and depended on his friends who took turns to offer their shoulders or arms to help him onto the bus.


With the guidance of the facilitators, Jonah also learnt how to assist a visually impaired commuter. When asked about his biggest takeaway, Jonah shared, “I have a better understanding of the challenges PwDs face, and I feel more confident in stepping forward to help them during my commutes in the future.”


Jun Bo (in a wheelchair) boarding the bus with the help of his classmate
Source: Public Transport Council


His classmate Koh Jun Bo role-played as a manual wheelchair user, boarding the bus. Having gone through the experience, he acknowledged that PwDs have it a lot harder than he thought. “I had to do a three-point turn to enter the wheelchair bay, it was difficult to manoeuvre due to the weight, and other passengers had to stay clear before I could board.”


Jun Bo feels confident of using the lessons learnt from the course to help wheelchair users and other PwDs better. He now knows to always start by asking, “Do you need help?”, rather than assuming they need help as some PwDs prefer to exercise their independence when boarding or alighting the bus.


Kishon sharing about the course with the students
Source: Public Transport Council

TTS Senior Customer Experience and Inclusivity Officer Kishon hopes that PBIC could continually educate more of the public on disability awareness, and in turn, everyone can play their part in contributing to a caring commuting culture in Singapore.

By allowing students to experience the PwD’s point of view through experiential case scenarios and role-playing, he hopes more students will start showing more awareness towards PwDs on their daily commute. Head over to Tower Transit Singapore's website to learn more about PBIC: https://www.towertransit.sg/.