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


A public bus driver reportedly went on strike and refused to continue a bus journey after two young children below the age of 7 were forced to pay the bus fare and the driver was unable to tell the children or their guardian how much the bus fare was in English.

Facebook user Fareen Salaudin shared that this occurred on SMRT bus 969 and that all the passengers had to exit the bus and board the next bus because of the driver’s strike. The driver is believed to be a Chinese national.

Fareen added that SMRT should revise its bus fare model for children as many children under the age of 7 are tall and that the children in this case were only two and four years old.

Children under the age of 7, below the height of 0.9m do not have to pay any bus fare, while children of the same age between the height of 0.9m and 1.2m have to pay a student bus fare if they do not have a child concession card.

Children who are below the age of 7 but are above the height of 1.2m are required to pay an adult bus fare if they do not have a child concession card.

Fareen claimed that at least one of the children who was asked to pay a fare was only 0.86m, slightly below the height a which the child is required to pay a fare.

She wrote on her page:

“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.”

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…

Posted by Fareen Salauddin on Saturday, 22 July 2017

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  1. I always face this stupid problem. I don’t speak mandarin but still had to face this morons who drive public buses and only know mandarin.. SMRT.. start using your stupid racist brain and hire someone who can speak at least the very basic English and Malay..

  2. It’s a wonder that applicant for public employment like bus driver in a multi-racial society like ours is not able to speak English. I suppose we all must learn to speak Mandarin regardless of our race. And travelling public is expected to come forward and interpret in such instance. I would like to know what action the bus company is taking with this driver. Treat him with kid-glove?

  3. If you hired a bus driver try to choose educated driver even due high school graduate.. only ….. english language is universal language can understand easily…..

  4. Singapore has to employ bus drivers who can communicate in basic English. Not everone in Singapore speaks Chinese. I was in a bus ride 56 or 57 from Toa Payoh Block 2. The driver, a PRC, could not understand me and I could not understand him. A chinese lady came and had a hard time making him understand my destination and yet he did not know where was Rochore. Finally I just paid $2 to avoid any further delay. She was so upset and said why cant these drivers speak Singaporr Chinese. So it is obvious even our local Chinese has difficulty in understanding PRC.

  5. Send them back to wherever they came from. ( If they are not local). If you can’t communicate with the community you’re serving , you shouldn’t be there. Why is noone on that bus able to help translate? Singaporeans too are getting very snobbish. Forgetting their roots.

  6. My Goodness! Many things are not working in Singapore today. I thought English Language is the “Working Language” in Singapore. I may be wrong. It’s probably Mandarin today.

  7. Joseph Lee says:

    If the driver is a Singaporean or perhaps Malaysian who goes on strike you see what kind of punishment they get now shall wait and see what the Ministry of Transport and SMRT comes out with what sort of excuses

  8. Few years ago, without bus directory board, i boarded a SMRT bus from a bus-stop and enquire whether the bus got plied along certain route or not. The whole conversation in mandarin. The bus driver was a china man, he replied me rudely: ” i don’t know, u s’poreans don’t know meh! “. I was very angry and got off the bus.

  9. They should know the basic english. MOM should put this requirement in the employment rule. Employer should send them for basic english course.
    Same for foreigner working in food court front line, some don’t know english at all. I wonder are we living in China. In food court, at least they shoukd know what is fork, spoon, rice…etc basic english for their type of work. I think MOM should put this as requirement.

  10. Zal Hassan says:

    Don’t understand why MOM approve their employment pass/work permits when they obviously don’t know basic English. Yet our domestic helpers who need not interact with the public have to pass English test. Great job MOM!!

  11. BTW, children are discriminated against! If no school concession card ….. So, if you don’t go to public school…. Your kids pay a different fare? Kids are still kids, irregardless of whether being educated or otherwise..haha.

  12. Oh please. Can the service hiring company make basic English speaking a criteria to enter Spore public service workforce? Maybe this can help prevent such unnecessary inconvenience & time wasters for us all.

  13. Fucking cheebye this big multi national company employ staffs that can’t speak English, whereby our garment keeping asking our own elderly go for English course like wda and was not given a proper jobs. What the fuck.

  14. Workers from Bangladesh, India learn to speak in English but for foreign Chinese is not the same. Expect more such things coming soon from hospital, schools etc

  15. Foreign bus Drivers recruited locally here is widely known here- most of them just grunt and hum in response to commuters trying to communicate in English or Malay – it’s a miracle that no tragic consequences arise till now – seems they may not want to learn any other language than their Mother tongue

  16. Sam Chuakk says:

    This type of behavior. Please take action terminate he contract follow by blacklist him. We are too nice to this type of Foreigner’s, at the end they don’t follow the procedure and role.

  17. Happened to me before.. I board the bus and asked the driver if it goes to certain place and his reply was ” I don’t know English!!” And I was thinking am I still in Singapore where English is the national language and the public bus driver don’t know English?? Wad a joke!

  18. Wait till the interpreter arrived haha haha first world..
    Why are non Chinese allowed to work in a Chinese lead company when Chinese speaking are allowed in other languages company?

  19. It happened to me a few years ago, taking bus no. 32. The PRC bus driver pressed a wrong button on the fare panel. He has to call HQ but still could not operate it. Everybody on the bus has to get down and take another bus!!!

  20. Why doesn’t SMRT send their foreign staff to conversational English classes so that they can at least get by? Or is it our top down system that is at fault – with everyone getting fat salaries and covering their expansive derrieres, implementing schemes that allow them to tick the box and claim credit. But without making sure things are properly carried out?

  21. The govt and bloody smrt take them here for work with high pay. They become swell headed and strike in the bloody front face of society. If this is not a sign of menace then what is this. If the authority shall not enforce, the next step will be to riot large scale!

  22. Why is SMRT employing such drivers and is our government allowing them to do so! China wanted to ban Justin beiber for bad behavior! How about us banning drivers from China who refuse to speak simple English?

  23. Our local Chinese here in Singapore will never have any problems with communicating with PRCs. Very sincerely, i thank them for having helped me out with communicating with PRCs on numerous occasisions now on my behalf. Be it at petrol stations, hawker centres or HDB miscellaneous stores, a PRC attending to me only equates for me to getting help from a fellow local Chinese and i just ask for help with a humble smile. I have never been let down. Thank you again, my fellow citizens.

  24. QUOTE From article : ” “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.” “

  25. This is not uncommon (not the strike) ie not being able to communicate in even simple English at the work vicinity and its mostly the FWs employed. These days there are also stalls at food courts handled by FWs who can’t/won’t communicate in simple English and some of them even get annoyed when customer can’t communicate in their language. The 3 words that some of them have managed to learned are simply “No speak english”.

  26. Andrew Koh says:

    The Ministers in charge of both immigration and manpower have to give citizens an answer to this problem! In any other country if not all other countries, new citizens must assimilate with locals and not the other way around. As usual, our million $ salaried Ministers are just self serving useless underperforming bunch! The rot starts from the top!

    1. Vincent Ng says:

      There are 4 official languages recognised in singapore. Chinese is 75%of the population,and most would understand some basic mandarin.Yet not 1 chinese passenger offer to translate?? I have voluntarily translated for mandarin speakers in foreign airports in europe .

    2. Answer to the problem of productive growth among the majority. Grace Fu once said they need to maintain balance – at whatever cost, such as this.

  27. Orion Ang says:

    More and more of these talents are like that….was on the bus a few days back and the mainland chinese driver was telling passengers to move in somemore in his national language. Then when no one moved (there was really no more place to move) he said in chinese very loudly that Singaporeans have no mannners (没家教)!!

  28. Don’t need to blame the driver, they are doing the job as a drivers, the problem is the top management they just want to made $$$$$! to show they are good to meet the KPI , at the end their packets full of $$$$$$$, this is what our G name them as FT help Singaporeans to have job

  29. Huat Ah says:

    Don’t always litsen to one side of story. Once you wear a corporate uniform, no matter what….you will be in the wrong. No body will support you. You will be like a sand bag, customer punch you from the front and your management will kick you from behind and the social media will side kick you from the side. In the end, you will die without a grave.

  30. Standard protocol is that if the driver do not understand or any other issue he should use the bus built-in communicator with the station staff on duty…but this guy got his own drastic measure to settle the issue…

  31. Basically… alot of things can make us pissed off daily.
    Stress is no good for health.
    For this case, apply for transportation pass for children before age 7.
    Bring it always if intent to travel in public transportation.
    Problem solved.
    We know our gahment fark care, companies fark care, and lastly frontline staff fark care.
    So we lan lan.
    Fyi before my 3 year old hit 0.9m I applied for the pass.
    Hence no need to frustrate with non English speaking drivers.
    I forget to bring, I lan lan pay full fare.

  32. Yan Gerek says:

    I dont understand why are we giving this people a chance to drive our public buses when they even barely couls speak a word of English furthermore they dont evwn share the same cultural link or even drive on the drive on the right

  33. Bullshit.. once my Son lost his mrt card ..
    I ask in English. He seem don’t understand where the place Kallang mrt station ..
    later tell me have go .. full fare.. I paid just dun make other wait thier trip ..

  34. William Ng says:

    Becos china ppl thinks they’re the world and can do whatever they want.. all thks to our fuck up minister for having that open leg policy for china fucktards

  35. 69.9 % can no longer complaint anymore…they have decided and had given the mandate to PAP to fixed them and they will have to accept whatever shit that PAP do to we Singaporeans…starting with having our local PMETs losing more jobs to cheaper foreigners + our CPF money locked further by more new measures. PAP did not enslave us; we Singaporeans enslave ourselves to their bullying!

  36. If all bus drivers can converse in English the bus fare will increase. Bus so many people nobody come forward to translate? What’s happening to our society?

    1. Woo Soo Chen who imported those china pigs? Not only they can’t communicate in English, they also don’t know the places. Once I took a bus to Capitol Theatre, an old aunty ask if he passes by St Andrews Cathedral, the china driver said no such place. Please lah it’s opposite each other.

    2. Aja Lee says:

      If all the PRC driver can speak English, the fare will increase???? Even without the PRC driver, the bus fare will still be increased. What is decreasing here in spore besides our salaries. He’s only a bus captain not Singapore airlines airbus captain. He don’t need a rocket Scientists command of English to speak to the commuters.

    3. Samantha Tan it’s not as easy as you think. Many of my ex colleagues end up speaking half and half in China. Our Chinese colleagues either understand half of what they were trying to say or translate whatever English words they can catch. Some Singlish like roti, kopi, etc were incorporated into their dictionary.
      Even Singapore hokkein differs somewhat from China fujian dialect. I’m not Hokkein but end up translating hokkein/fujian.

    4. Those who can write and speak English will go to America, Australia, England, Canada, instead of Spore. If they are so well educated, then Singaporean will have no job and have to make JB our second home!

    5. I’m sure we have come across a few PRC drivers ourselves. Most of us have no problem because we use ezlink card and unfortunately this newbie probably panicked thus creating this fiasco.

    6. Last time before the advent of foreign bus drivers, our bus uncles could communicate in at least Singlish or broken Malay to non-Chinese Singaporeans and angmo tourists. Where got such thing like in society nowadays?

    7. Wilson Fong you can report the case to transport company. FYI, I have seen similar but not foreign drivers. Cannot be sure whether that passenger is colleague or not.

    8. No matter what it is the transport company’s duty to give drivers proper training before sending them out.
      Why are there fewer drivers who can communicate with passengers? We all know the answer.

    9. for above case, have seen own village kind board the bus driven by FT driver. after own kind kaki greeting, that folk n their children ride free! can even talk n drive at the same time, all other passenger’s life at stake!

    10. once the bus broke down halfway, expected the trained driver to activate the protocol procedure to generate free ride ticket for the next ride! strangely he said in chinese only 车坏,下车/break down, all alight!and nothing else??? so passenger must make trouble to call office to make self claim! so not just can’t communicate! but also not knowing the standard protocol procedure of a breakdown?

    11. Ismail Tan the Chinese I come across in China who can write basic English but not necessarily can converse in English. Those who are fluent do not have to come work in Singapore.

    12. You are missing the point. Bus drivers need to converse in basic english w non-chinese such as indians, malays and Caucasians. Likewise, we certainly do not expect you to speak indian language with indian bus driver. What kind of logic in your mind?

  37. I understand the frustration of the parent. I think its only reasonable to expect employees to have a basic understanding of English when dealing with public. While the company may have offered English lessons, its also the onus of the individual to put in effort to improve. When I worked in France, I made an effort to pick up as much French as I could and tried to used it, people appreciated me for it.

  38. SMRT should give a chart price in English and explanation to the driver!
    Can’t speak English, show the English chart, Malay chart and Tamil chart! Why pay million dollars to transport minister ?
    Please deduct the transport minister’s salary and transfer to my account!

    1. Just remember that it is you, who allowed this to happened. #whatareyouexpecting #whysosurprised #youvotedforthisshit #youduncheebye #youduncomplain #youaskforit #blameyourself #gohomecry #fiveyearsofgoodies #welcometosingapore

    1. Terance Rozario Nothing worthy of mention. Imagine some officer that can only speak English talking to those older dialect speaking folks. Lots of our officers also cannot converse in dialects

    2. Terance Rozario oh but it is a race issue. the minority races do not speak Chinese, obviously. It is inevitable that they would be pushed away and feel more excluded than they already are when there are people who do not speak English everywhere they go.

    3. So true Mike. My brother once called AA Roadside Assistance a few years back. A PRC guy came and kept speaking to us 2 Indians in non-stop Mandarin. How foolish have we become?

    4. Mike Chew says:

      You see them everywhere here and we are supposed to speak with them in Mandarin. How so ridiculous. Our immigration and MOM tidur for so long.

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