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Fellow commuter on service 969 offers another side of story defending SMRT bus captain

A passenger had offered to be a translator but was rebuffed.

Belmont Lay | July 25, 2017 @ 04:12 am

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The commuter who alleged over Facebook that the bus captain of SMRT service 969 had been unable to communicate the cost of bus fares for two children has removed the post.

The dispute between a commuter and the bus captain allegedly arose due to a language barrier.

But after the incident was widely reported and a witness offered a fresh perspective on what had happened, the original post was taken down.

The original post by Fareen Salauddin said two kids, aged four and two, had to pay the bus fare because they were deemed to have exceeded the height limit. However, the driver reportedly could not convey in English how much their fares were.

“If you can’t speak English well… at least know the basics,” the post read.

It is unclear who was the passenger disputing the fare.

However, a fellow commuter, Jian Wei, has come out to provide another side of the story on SMRT’s Facebook post.

He said: “The driver mentioned that the kid had passed the height limit which entitles for a free ride and requested that he should make the payments. The father refused and insisted the driver communicate with him in English.”

“Seeing the situation, one of the passengers actually offered to help translate what the bus driver is saying for the father, but the father told the passenger not to translate and it’s the driver’s job to communicate with him.”

However, the commuter who was the witness then alighted the bus as he didn’t want to be held up and was unclear about what took place afterwards.

SMRT said it is investigating.

This was what the commuter said in defence of the SMRT bus captain, in case you cannot see it:

I would like to offer the other side of the story since I was on the bus and happened to witness the incident when it occured . As mentioned in the news report, it started off with a fare dispute between the father and the driver near Khatib. The driver mentioned that the kid has past the height limit which entitles for a free ride and requested that he should make the payments. The father refused and insisted the driver to communicate with him in English. Seeing the situation, one of the passengers actually offered to help translate what the bus driver is saying for the father, but the father told the passenger not to translate and it’s the driver’s job to communicate with him. I then decided to alight as the whole situation is holding up my time.

From what I have observed, like many comments here were pointing out, the driver should have been better trained in his English proficiency. However, I think that’s where the driver’s fault end.

By turning down other passenger’s offer to help him translate what the driver is trying to convey, the father was obviously trying to be difficult. If he had really wanted to solve the issue, he would have tried to communicate properly with the driver through the help offered, but he didn’t.

Personally, I also think that the driver is just doing his job, and has the rights to refuse to continue with the journey in the event there is a fare cheat. And in this case, I do not know whether the father tried to cheat the fare, but one thing for sure is that this issue will be resolved faster should the father have co-operated and not try to be difficult and holding up the time of all the other passengers onboard.

 

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About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce "tchotchke".

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