I frequently commute on SMRT trains and I was diagnosed with Irritable bowel syndrome(IBS) in 2013. Like many patients diagnosed with IBS, we feel that a few of SMRT policies does not make sense and creates more problems for people with IBS / bowel problems like us. Here’s why:
1. All toilets in SMRT station are outside the gantry.
Currently, all toilets in SMRT stations are outside the gantry as opposed to having 2 sets of toilets like what happen in Taiwan or Japan. As such, commuters who have bowel problems like me have to tap out and tap in just to use the toilet when our IBS problems strikes. My suggestion for this problem will be to allow people who need an urgent need to go toilet to obtain a pass from the station manager in the short term while transforming the design of our MRT stations in the long run.
2. Shared toilet paper to reduce paper wastage
I could not understand how shared toilet papers will help to reduce paper wastage. Currently, in many SMRT stations (e.g. farrer road, macpherson, yio chu kang, khatib), the toilets have one single toilet roll which commuters supposedly have to share. Let me propose this question. Suppose you have a bad diarrhea and you rush into the cubicle and realise you didn’t get any toilet paper. What should you do? I have personally seen embarrassed men coming out to take the toilet paper because of this stupid policy. In addition, how should one gague the amount of toilet paper to take? If they take too little, they have to come out to take more. If they take too much, wouldn’t it be a wastage? Additionally, I’ve seen primary / secondary school students playing with wet toilet rolls as these toilet rolls are situated next to the basin by throwing these wet toilet paper on the floor. This policy has serve nothing but sheer horror to people who have bowel issues like me. I truly urge you to reverse this policy and place toilet papers in each cubicle. If wasting paper is a concern, you can look at how Japan public toilets are doing it. Each of their cubicle comes with a bidet and anti-bacterial wipes.
3. MRT trains stopping in between stations
I truly don’t understand why MRT trains has to stop between stations. If there is a train ahead, can’t the train wait at the previous station till the train ahead has left the next station? By stopping between station, it increase the level of anxiety in commutes who have IBS as they will feel that they cannot find a toilet in the train. Worst still, there are no seats for them to rest on toilets for them to go to.
I would urge you to really take a look at your policies and think about this. Thank you.