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Fulfilling her childhood dream as a bus driver

Transport award winners share their stories

She remembers more than 40 bus routes by heart.

Madam Elizabeth Lim Poh Suan, 56, who has been a SBS Transit bus captain for almost 33 years, said: "I've been driving buses in the West (division) for so long that the routes are all at my fingertips."

Two weeks ago, Madam Lim was rewarded with a Land Transport Excellence Award for her excellent service as the only female chief bus captain in SBS Transit.

The grandmother of four said: "I was honoured to get the award. I was so happy that I even smiled in my sleep."

As a chief bus captain since 2011, Madam Lim is usually on "standby" and will fill in for any bus captains who call in sick or cannot make it for their duties.

She also has duties to train and mentor new bus captains and to give out assigned services to bus captains when they report for work.

Driving a bus has always been her childhood aspiration and she is happy to have fulfilled it.

"I saw those bus uncles driving big buses when I was little, I was in awe of them and wanted to be like them. So I decided to drive a bus and have been driving ever since," Madam Lim recounted.

She started driving a bus in 1981 and has never found it a problem being a woman in a male-dominated industry.

"What men can do, I can do too," she said.

She said that people compliment her, saying that they are impressed that she is a female bus captain.

She shared with The New Paper an incident some time back, where a child vomited on the bus. Instead of being annoyed, Madam Lim offered the parents medicated oil for their child and even helped to clean up.

The parents were so grateful for Madam Lim's assistance that they wrote to her company, complimenting her.

DAILY ROUTINE

On a typical day, depending on her shift, Madam Lim wakes up at 3.30am so that she can reach Boon Lay Bus Interchange for her duties, which start at about 4.30am and usually end around lunchtime, with breaks in between.

Although she has encountered some challenging passengers, Madam Lim is confident that as long as she continues to approach customers with a smile, they will be infected by her cheerful attitude.

She feels that her positive attitude and cheerful disposition is something that gives her passion for her job.

Said Madam Lim: "I love my job and I love driving. I want to work until I retire."

I saw those bus uncles driving big buses when I was little, I was in awe of them and wanted to be like them.

- Madam Elizabeth Lim Poh Suan (below), who has been driving buses for almost 33 years