Singapore

SBS Transit gets its first Caucasian bus captain

The next time you board a bus, a driver may also greet you with a cheerful "goeie more" (pronounced ho-yah mo-ra) on your morning commute.

That will be Mr Daniel Jacobus Ellis wishing you good morning in his native Afrikaans, one of the 11 official languages of South Africa.

The 34-year-old started his training to be a bus captain in February and has been driving with SBS Transit since April.

He is the only Caucasian employed by the firm as a bus captain. SBS Transit has about 5,800 bus captains.

He is believed to be the only bus captain here from South Africa.

He said he had previously worked as a freelance business analyst here, but turned to the bus company for a stable job.

"I saw an ad at the LRT station advertising positions for bus captains, and I thought to myself, why not give it a try," he said.

Mr Ellis - who moved here in 2011 when he married his Singaporean wife - gained his citizenship two years ago.

Home is a four-room Build-To-Order Housing Board flat in Punggol which he shares with his wife, a school counsellor.

To keep himself alert during his 12-hour long shifts - which can see him start the day as early as 2.45am - he enjoys a cup of kopi gao (thick coffee) from the Hougang Central Bus Interchange canteen.

Mr Lee Teck Chuan, the interchange manager, said Mr Ellis projects "a very professional image". - THE STRAITS TIMES

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