Maybe the SMRT bus driver had a good reason flipping the bird?

So far there's only one side of the story.

Jonathan Lim | December 3, 2015 @ 12:31 pm

A photograph of an SMRT bus driver showing the middle finger has over 4,300 shares on Facebook in the space of just 19 hours.

It was posted on Dec 2 by Facebook user Alan Yap whose caption of the photograph was just:

alan yap smrt

Yap, a lorry delivery driver, did not provide any context or explanation behind the photograph initially, except that he may want to give the bus driver an award for “SMRT 2016 Bus Captain”. And 2015 isn’t even over yet.

However, he did eventually give his side of the story in an interview with The Straits Times on Dec. 3.


Yap’s story

Yap said that while he was travelling in the middle lane on Lentor Avenue at about 10am on Dec. 2, the bus driver “signalled and immediately tried to filter, so I had no time to react and did not give way … Even if he was unhappy that I failed to give way, how can he react in such a vulgar manner when he’s wearing the SMRT uniform?”

Editor’s comment: No time to react and did not give way? How about… erm… braking to avoid any potential collision?

Here’s the photograph Yap posted:

alan yap smrt driver 12

Besides the offending finger, this photograph also shows in the reflection, the photo taker’s hand and mobile phone stretched out from what looks like a delivery lorry.

Some netizens on ST’s post have pointed this out:

alan yap smrt driver 1

Let’s hope both bus and lorry weren’t in motion when this photograph was captured. Because who cares about safety when you want to photograph a bird-flipping driver, amirite?

Other netizens quite predictably and unfortunately chimed in with xenophobic comments about the bus driver. Le sigh.


SMRT takes action

SMRT has posted on its Facebook and said that the “bus captain has been taken off duty for further investigations.”

Comments from netizens on SMRT’s post seem largely to be supportive of the bus driver. Some are asking for SMRT to study footage on what happened between the bus and Yap’s vehicle and listen to the driver’s side of the story before taking action against the bus driver:

smrt bus captain defence

Hopefully, SMRT will find out whether the bus driver was indeed in the wrong for trying to cut into a lane without giving sufficient warning to other vehicles and take action against him for that – safety is more important than whether the bus driver has the right etiquette.


What about the bus driver’s story?

While it is definitely not right to flip the bird at people, especially when you’re in uniform and representing an organisation, the bus driver also needs to provide his side of the story.

Was Yap being reckless? Yap said he had no time to react, therefore he did not give way to the bus; why would he not brake instead if he did not have time to react? Is that not one of the basics of driving?

Did Yap do or say anything to provoke the bus driver?

Perhaps this sums up this whole incident the best:

smrt bus driver story


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About Jonathan Lim

Jon is thankful that Singapore is interesting enough to keep a website like Mothership.sg up and running.

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