‘Children’s father aggravated driver’ – witness on SMRT Bus 969 offers another account


Another alleged witness on SMRT Bus 969 where a bus driver reportedly went on strike has come forward with an alternative account. The bus driver is said to have refused to continue a bus journey after he was unable to communicate the bus fare for two young children below the age of 7 in English.

The incident went viral after Facebook user Fareen Saludin shared the following on Facebook:

“Driver went on STRIKE, did not want to continue the journey and all of us had to change to the next 969 bus. Waste all of the passenger’s fare and time.. Just because 2 small kids(4YRS OLD & 2 YRS OLD) who was forced to pay bus fare but the driver can’t tell how much is the fare in ENGLISH. If you can’t speak English well… at least know the basics. You can’t come to our country & expect us to speak your language. Brainless.
“And as for you SMRT.. Number 1, please send your FOREIGN drivers for a basic English Speaking course to interact with passengers who can’t speak in Chinese. Number 2, please revise your “Child Bus Fare” requirements.. now year 2017 going 2018 already.. All children below 7 years are tall already.. So please uh..
Last pic is one of the 3 kids that have to pay for the bus fare.. as measured, she is only 86cm..”

Fareen claimed that one of the children who was asked to pay a bus fare was slightly below the 0.9m height limit that allows children to take public bus services for free. She has since removed her post from Facebook entirely.

Following news that SMRT is investigating the driver, Facebook user Jian Wei shared that it was the children’s father who aggravated the driver by refusing to listen to a passenger who offered to translate in what was perhaps a bid to evade paying the bus fare for his children altogether.

SMRT has gone on record to assure commuters that they are looking into the matter. The organisation asserted that their drivers do attend English language classes, before appealing to commuters to help drivers if they experience communication difficulties.

“Bus Captains do attend English classes” – SMRT apologises for driver who went on strike after being unable to communicate in English

SMRT bus driver refuses to continue driving during trip after being unable to communicate in English


  1. i have also seen those non-mandarine speaking refuse others help in translate and making things difficult for PRC employees. We have ugly singaporean too

    • So non-mandarin ppl (includes indian malay and some chinese) are making you mandarin orange speaking ppl a hard time la? Just learn english. That is all…

    • Insisting that drivers should be english speaker, is not the same
      as insisting to be diffcult and making life diffcult for another human being.

    • Wow…we non-Mandarin speaking Singaporeans have to accommodate n make the PRCs feel loved? We r the ugly Singaporeans? This is y we call the the Chinese in SG having a privileged life. Most don’t care what the minority races have to go thru in their daily lives. N those of u labeling him as a fare cheat without even knowing what actually happened n what exactly they went thru shud be ashamed of urselves as Singaporeans.

    • Steven Tan so y not just hire English speaking drivers to solve the problem? Y must certain companies insist on employing PRCs in jobs that require them to interact with races that don’t speak mandarin? The non-mandarin speaking community is really angry with this situation hence y they react to these situations in this manner. Get down from ur high horse privileged life n empathize with ur fellow non-Mandarin speaking Singaporeans instead of condoning the companies that hire the PRCs.

    • Mat Salleh Smrt do provide english lesson for them but dont think few weeks they can become very well conversing. So if other passengers offer to help translate juz accept it. If not pls take uber. We cannot deny the world is changing china is dominating in most business now. Like it or not its a facts

    • Belinda Suan the point here if u remember the motto ‘ customers is always right’ than u will understand that basic skikls such as English is a must for all service personnek who provide services to the public. Even domestic helper who wish to here have to sit for stringent language test so why not apply just the same standards for future bus captains as well

    • Roy lee
      Refusing a translation offer by a fellow passanger, taking and posting the pic of a bus captain for a fare dispute, is being diffcult and nasty. Its bullying. Its creating an extral problem to solve the problem itself.
      Voicing out your displeasure at non- english speaking bus captain or bad SMRT service policies is a different issue.

    • Yan Gerek going by your way of thinking a customer is always right, if a Mak Cik at a Malay stall or a dialect speaking Chinese does not speak English and someone offers to help to translate we are supposed to refuse the offer and make life difficult for her/him?

    • Steven Tan I can agree with u on that if u can tell me for a fact that that was exactly what happen without a doubt. Do u know for sure that is the whole story?

    • If ur in the service industry u ought to learn the language.. u shouldnt require a translator..

      What happens if it just the two of u.. no translator.. abandon the bus n leave?..

    • Belinda Suan Shut up. It is not the responsibility of the public to accomodate them. Either speak English or go elsewhere. SMRT should implement IELTS tests on these “FT”.

    • SK Goh exactly my point so I don’t know so I’am not slamming the Father for trying to get out of paying the fare. What’s ur story?

    • Bear in mind they r drivers from Malaysia who dun speak much English and they r non Chinese, I hv personally came across n accepted a translations from a kind hearted Malay lady when my farecard was below acceptances level. Or can I turn nasty and justified my manner and put the blame on non English speakers regardless of nationalities.

    • Roy lee; Did Belinda Suan said ugly Singaporean are those non Chinese, did she said that. Yet you were fast to pinpoint at Chinese, so wat is yr problem now.

  2. Whether the dad tried to play punk is one thing (shld be investigated to give justice to the PRC driver), but it is also critical for bus co to explain why drivers’ English isnt up to standard.

  3. Its not who started first but why is the standard set by our public services provider such as SMRT have low level of competency for its staff? If this driver isn’t even ready to use his language skills even aa basic level as possible than why is he allowed to drive in the firat place

    • The standard is low because Singaporeans who know English like you (and me but I am not old enough to drive) are not willing to become bus captain. If you want them to change, accept their low salaries (or raise fares) and get a job there today!

    • Ong Jia Cheng i partly agree to your statement.

      You know how the g works? They take from the citizens, and they squeeze the contracts given to the bidding company. Naturally pay becomes not attractive and no singaporeans wants to drive. Have u any idea how early drivers wake up for the first shift and how late they return home after the last shift? U pay peanuts, u get monkeys. That is one reason y most singaporeans dont do harsh or hectic jobs. It just doesnt pay.

      But on the other hand, they have no qualms paying themselves exorbitant salary / allowances and think not of the odinary folks you and me.

    • Ong Jia Cheng its bcos people like who only want pay peanuts and expect an elephant in return that is why many of Singaporean shun away from bus captai jobs ans by the way i assumed that u are no bus captain yourself and that made u a smart ass is it?

    • My point there is no absolutely convincing why we here in Singapore with multi cultural multi racial multi lingual should ever consider such people when obviously the nation where they are from shared no common theme as us

    • You are right!!!Just because they use “Can speak Chinese only drivers” Then aspect non chinese speaking citizens to learn chinese?I as a Chinese Singaporean read liao also tulan!!!

  4. Our Singapore Constitution also kanna fxxx, official languages no Chinese, no Tamil no Malay ????? Since Parliament can also busy body with lee saga. The court can close shop Liao.
    The nation is falling apart soon


  6. It seems that the bus driver isn’t the only one who can’t speak English.
    What’s the meaning of strike in the first place?

  7. Poor driver! All because someone refused to pay the fare! Seriously how low can one gets? Driver only doing his job by following company stipulated rules

    • Malay is our national language. English is most commonly used among Singaporean. Foreigners are employed because we don’t have enough Singaporean to take up every job. If wee insist all who we import must speak English, we may end up with 1 million Pinoy here. Let’s give people a chance and time for them to adapt and learn. Live and let live.

    • Mustaffa Mohamad since you are so against Foreign Trash, How about you go and drive the bus and work during weekends and Public Holidays starting wirk at 5.30 an and finishing at 12.30am?

    • Who say no singaporean ? I am a singaporean and am willing to take up the challenges as a bus captain. Do you think SBS will consider employing me ??????????

    • Oh yes! If the time is only in the morning and end at 1800 hr, I would gladly accept the offer, but SBS rules is too stringent especially the time.

    • Have Mr Leong tried to apply as a Bus Captain and got rejected? What’s the reason they rejected your application? It will be good if you can share so we know how unfair the bus companies are to Singaporean.

    • OK the reasons as follows . The time slot is not right , if the SBS has got a normal time slot for the retiree with class 4 and 3 at the prime age of 65years old , then I would not mind working 7 days a week with a day off of my choice. SBS should be very flexible with paying good salary for people like me at this prime age who is willing to have interest wth the company. I have a clean driving record for these past years. If SBS is listening then they should not have problem hiring good Drivers.

    • singapore has 4 official languages, understand official?singapore population is 75% chinese.There are simple ways for non english speakers. I have volunteered translations for non english speakers in european airports.

  8. Those non mandarin should be sent for compulsory counselling. SINGAPORE population is 75%chinese.and mandarin is one of 4 official languages in singapore in case some ignoramus don’t know.

  9. I’ve seen 2 workers doing tree pruning. The Chinese worker operating the crane and the Bangra doing the pruning. Both shouting at each other in their native languages. The job was done to perfection. Amazing!

    If people really want tio communicate, language is never a barrier. If they don’t want….. nothing is going to be heard.

  10. Prc Drivers are paid less as compared to Malaysians and Singaporeans. Maybe when they find out, in order to send them back to china, they create issues and disciplinary action may shorten their contract in singspore? I encounter one case where I press the bell well in advance and the prc driver ignore me when I ask him to stop. I was actually moving up to the front door while pressing the button. There was no led display on the front of bus. Told him to stop and he ignore me . I fck him and he say he din hear the bell but I question him to stop, why dint you stop. He allow me alight at the next stop. I think he doesn’t want to stay to continue working. U know every bus terminal there is a supervisor. I wrote in and the supervisor took checked the bus and reply that the bell button is not working. U will be surprise they want easy job. Did u ever see them working on road construction? Why only Indians work in construction industries? Where r all the chinaman? They become boss in eateries and toilet Cleaners . Air con shiok shiok.

  11. Hmmm. Lets think about this….everytime you go up the bus(maybe u did something stupid maybe u r innocen) and suddenly the driver stop you. While you standing there listening/scold by the driver you will feel paiseh/angry because. 1)You standing there ALONE. 2) everyone in the bus stares/kaypo at you.
    The choices of replying can come in many tones if youre in tht situation. I ever kena few times. The point where my late mom taught me to respect bus driver till i grew up hating them for their attitude. But then again there are some good ppl some bad ppl….

  12. Children fares are 1 std rate and not distance related. So asking how much is the fare for the children, the passrenger is just trying to avoid paying for the child fare and when that fails, he find trouble with the driver to regain his pride because he should have found a sense of shame overcoming him.

  13. Back in the old days, we have Chinese speaking Maly and Indian lsng.and Malay and Indian speaking Chinese .and Hokkien. Miss those good old days when everyone is comfortable talking to everyone in any language .never minding the grammer and structure of the sentence but each words spoken iut can be understood evsn by the grandmother. Our society here is really going down the drain.

  14. If this is true i must say this malay guy is a shame for fellow sg. Yes the driver need basic english but the driver come here all the way to work honestly we should help them in a way or two. Yes we hate FT takin our jobs here but its not the FT fault its the Gov issue. I agree this is an ugly singaporean. Selfish. Still dare to make it viral. Glad that the fellow bus commuter brought this up.

    • NOW THAT ASS GUY IS INDEED A SHAME ! HE should apologised instead but instead make it viral! There is no harm to apologise though the fault is purely on the SBS and not the driver. Every one need a job to survive right!!!!!!!!! Touch your heart sincerely and do a soul searching and ask yourself why you refused others to assist in the communication?????? This clearly proves one thing in LIFE. U ARE NOT HONEST!!!!!

  15. This is the problem… no one dares to step up for justice. When the father obviously doesn’t want to pay the fare. Someone should just tell him off for wasting everyone’s time. Driver could call for help from police to talk to this trouble maker instead of going on strike. Probably not sure what to do with that troublemaker. Some training should be given to them on how to deal with the situation…..

  16. Refusing to communicate in Chinese and accepting translation can be interpreted as an act of shaming. I am not trying to take sides but just hope to make the situation more understandable. PRC do carry a lot of shame in their blood since the Opium war till Japanese occupation and in many occasions thereafter, along with tying in of personal value to country image, they do carry a lot of psychological baggages, more than they know or possibly will ever admit. While this does not excuse them of any ill behaviors, please do understand that they are very sensitized to shaming and might resort to off the norm conduct in reaction. We could choose to say it is up to them to accustom to us and not the other way round, but since more and more are here to stay, maybe we can think of a more effective way of associating them?

  17. While d driver did not make a good decision in not continuing with d journey, he has been a responsible employee…ensuring that all passengers pay their due fare n not deprive his company of losing revenue.

  18. All drivers must at least able to communicate in simple basic english . Even though it may be broken english but at least can communicate and understand each others. I ever encountered when passengers asked for the bus routes of certain places some drivers do not know what the passengers were asking. It create problems if we have rojak languages for communication.

  19. The driver has a duty in making sure passengers pay their fare. If everybody get free ride, bus companies will have to fold up.
    Pity the driver having to put up the difficult situation.

  20. Can The Independent ger their Social Media Manager to write grammatically correct, shorter & meaningful headlines? Specially since we are talking about the use of the English language.

  21. Don’t bully others just because you speak broken English aka Singlish. Many of my elders also don’t speak broken English, but they are more Singaporeans than this troublemaker and his kids.

  22. English speaking pls . I have endured the same situation many a time when I cannot express to them talk to them be it in the bus depot mall
    Food court anywhere . We have a lot of foreign workers here with the language problem

  23. Foreigners are doing the hardest work such as construction, Cleaners , gardeners , domestic workers , bus Drivers etc which we as Singaporeans would never wanted to do , however instead of showing appreciation and respect, Some Singaporeans called them : foreign trash , based on just 1 or 2 incidents. Imagine if you go to US , UK , Canada , China etc to work , the locals called you : foreign trash ? Can you feel the pain ?

  24. some people use all sorts of means to beat the system. I once saw a woman pushing a pram with a child in it and a girl walking beside her.The three of them went past the mrt gate together with one ticket

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