Bus Fare Dispute: Witness says Parent Stopped Passenger from Helping Driver Translate, Possibly to Cheat Fare


A bus driver at the heart of yesterday’s dispute involving bus fare and language is being investigated by SMRT.

In a recent turn of events, another man claiming to be a passenger on the bus said that the father in this incident was being unreasonable and possibly trying to evade paying the bus fare.

The incident took place yesterday on board bus service 969.

The bus driver reportedly could not inform the father involved about the cost of bus fare for his children as he could not speak English.

Thereafter, he reportedly refused to move the bus as the father didn’t pay the fare.

Fareen Salauddin snapped pictures of the bus driver and said in a Facebook post that went viral and has since been taken down:

“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..”

Children up to a height of 0.9m who are accompanied by an adult may travel for free.

It’s unclear who is the father involved in the incident.

The bus driver has drawn much criticism from netizens.

They have attacked him for not being able to speak basic English, and refusing to move the bus and hence causing a delay.

However, a man claiming to have witnessed the incident said that, the bus drivers’ English proficiency aside, the father involved had been unreasonable.

Jian Wei said that the father had stopped another passenger who stepped forward to help translate on behalf of the bus driver, and insisted that the bus driver speak to him in English.

This, he said, was despite other passengers being held up due to the dispute.

Jian Wei said that it’s possible the father was trying to avoid paying bus fare.


SMRT has since apologised for the inconvenience caused, and said it is looking into the incident.

It said in a statement that “all bus captains attend English classes to improve their ability to understand and converse in the language”.



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