His Excellency, Mr Alan Collins, British High Commissioner to Singapore
Mr K K Tan, President of the Rotary Club of Singapore West
Mr Tay Wei Lien, Immediate-Past President of the Rotary Club of Singapore West
Ms Simone Khoo and members of Vocaluptuous
Mr and Mrs Jerry Chua of Myx Music Studios
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. An accessible transportation system is essential as it not only offers people with disabilities greater freedom and independence, but also encourages their participation and full integration into mainstream society.
2. There has been significant improvement in making our public transport system more accessible for people with disabilities. The Northeast MRT line was built with the physically challenged, the visually handicapped and the elderly in mind. The other MRT stations are being upgraded to make them more accessible and disabled-friendly. Many disabled, especially those on wheelchairs, are now looking forward to the day when our public buses are also made wheelchair-accessible.
3. However, even when our public transport system is fully integrated and customized for people with disabilities, there will still be some disabled who will need door-to-door transportation to cater to their needs. For many, taxis are expensive. Relying on taxis as the only form of transportation can be a heavy financial burden. So many would rather stay home than to go out for activities and incur the expenditure. The Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD in short) has come across some who pass up job opportunities because the cost of taxi fares can take up to as much as 50% or even 75% of their income.
4. Having worked with people with physical disabilities in the last 40 years, SPD understands their needs and concerns. To enable the physically disabled to access and receive services, we run a fleet of 10 vehicles and contract another eight buses that provide door-to-door special transportation to bring the physically disabled to this Centre. Every day, the fleet makes more than 80 trips daily to bring the disabled to the Centre for day care, rehabilitation, sheltered employment, training and other services.
5. The transport fleet as you can see is a very critical part of the service provision for the disabled. SPD transport is heavily subsidized. Users pay only $25 to $45 per month for a two-way trip. Taxi fares can cost up to $25 every day for a two-way trip.
6. We are thus very grateful that we have caring corporate partners who have helped to make possible affordable and convenient transportation for the disabled. Whether it is funds for operating cost of the fleet or to acquire new and better buses to replace old vehicles, we are glad to have received support from individuals, companies and organizations.
7. This new acquisition of a 13-seater Mercedes Benz bus is no different. We are grateful to have the support of The Rotary Club of Singapore West, Vocaluptuous and Myx Music Studios for the generous gift of this new vehicle that is more spacious and comes with special features to ensure the safety of its passengers.
8. Everyone involved this Christmas Charity CD project really gave their all to push the sales of the CD. We are privileged to have even the British High Commissioner’s support when His Excellency hosted the launch of the Christmas CD at his residence. Thank you very much your Excellency for your support.
9. Once again, on behalf of our beneficiaries, we want to thank the Rotary Club of Singapore West for initiating the project, Vocaluptuous for using your talent for the benefit of the disabled and Myx Music Studios for your support in providing recording facilities for the CD. Your contribution will allow more people with physical disabilities to enjoy the programmes and services at SPD.
10. Thank you for being here with us this afternoon.