Getting to Changi Airport Terminal 4:
On a Wheelchair!
29 November 2017
Armed with a wheelchair, we set off on an adventure to explore the new Changi Airport Terminal 4, the acclaimed wheelchair-friendly airport terminal.
The journey to the east was fraught with many challenges, yet heart-warming because of the strangers who offered a helping hand via tiny gestures, such as waiting for us to enter the cabin or holding the lift for us.
Ever noticed the door numbers on each train door barricade? If you are happen to be on a wheelchair, make your way down to Door 12 or 13 as these cabins have spaces designed specially for wheelchair users.
If you are taking the lift, most lifts are located right in front of Door 13 for a hassle-free entrance to the train cabin. If you are a passenger, make sure to look out for the wheelchair sign and avoid occupying the space designated for wheelchair users! Unlike the first train we took towards Bishan, the second train we took was a relatively older train and did not have the designated area for wheelchairs. Despite so, do not worry as most trains do have enough space for wheelchair users.
Just a heads up on entering the train cabin - make sure to lift the wheelchair up when entering the cabin as the platform is a little lower than the flooring of the train (as SMRT always say, beware of the platform gap!).
As Singapore takes a giant step towards inclusiveness in our society, the valiant effort through numerous infrastructural upgrades have indeed brought about much ease in accessibility for everyone.
The new Changi Airport Terminal 4 is designed with features to help the disabled navigate through the new facility with ease. In our experiment, we investigated the experience of transferring from Terminal 2 to Terminal 4 via the T4 shuttle bus.
From the T2 Departure Hall, we could easily locate the shuttle bus stop from the large and clear signages.
Shuttle bus to T4
As we were about to get on the bus, the airport attendant was quick to notice our wheelchair and immediately told the bus captain to release the wheelchair ramp from the bus. The wheelchair ramp was automated and only took about 5 seconds to extend down to the ground.
When the attendant noticed that the ramp was partially blocked by the safety barriers on the kerb, he notified the bus driver to move the bus forward, without any hesitation.
With the help of the workers there, we were able to safely proceed up the T4 shuttle bus without breaking a sweat!
Getting to Terminal 4 via Public Bus from Changi Airport Terminal 2, you can take either bus 24 or 36 from level B1. It was quite confusing when we were at the bus stop for the first time as there was only 1 ramp to each platform and to the different buses on each ledge, causing it to be troublesome and dangerous when going from one raised path to another with a wheelchair (after we realised that we were on the wrong raised path).
The advice is to not cross the road first, turn right to the Transitlink office to check which bus to take for your desired destination, then proceed to the raised path you're supposed to go. It is good to inform the bus captain which stop you're alighting at so that he/she can help you with alighting.
After getting off at PTB4, just outside Terminal 4, we had to cross a short pedestrian crossing to get to the terminal, which is not very friendly to wheelchair users since the green man only stays for a relatively short span of 10 seconds, and there is no facility for the green man timing to be extended.
On the other hand, if you are taking public bus from your home to Terminal 4, it may be quite convenient even with a wheelchair as there is a sheltered path all the way from alighting the public bus to the terminal.
Overall, the experience from MRT to Terminal 4 via public bus was quite convenient, especially so due to the help of the bus captains (not to mention that they are also really proactive and friendly!), and there will be very little worries even on rainy days since the route is fully sheltered. However, it will be more convenient to take the shuttle bus to Terminal 4 since there will be more staff there to help with boarding and alighting.
Finally, after our journey on the different routes, the return of our trusty wheelchair to the shop marked the end of our adventure.