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.