SMRT 'looking into' bus fare dispute with driver
About 40 people were forced to get off an SMRT bus on Saturday when the driver refused to continue the journey after a fare dispute with a couple with children.
The next day, SMRT apologised on Facebook for the incident and assured the public that it took feedback seriously and was "looking into this matter".
SMRT was responding to a Facebook post on Saturday by Ms Fareen Salauddin, who had witnessed the incident on service 969 at a bus stop near Khatib MRT station.
She said the driver had problems communicating in English with the parents of a two-year-old girl and four-year-old boy.
After an argument, the driver refused to drive, forcing some 40 passengers to disembark, she told Shin Min Daily News.
Ms Fareen said he had earlier wanted to charge a fare for her niece but allowed the girl to ride for free after Ms Fareen pointed out that her niece is less than 0.9m tall.
TransitLink's website states that children under seven and not taller than 0.9m may travel for free if accompanied by an adult.
When the parents boarded the bus later, the driver told them to pay for their children as well, Ms Fareen said.
She told Shin Min: "When they asked how much the fares were, the driver only said that his English wasn't good. They didn't know how much to pay, and no one came forward to help translate."
But another passenger, Mr Jian Wei, commenting on SMRT's Facebook post, said when the argument started, a passenger had offered to translate.
But the father told the passenger not to do it as it was the driver's job to communicate with him.
SMRT said in its post that all its bus captains attend English classes to improve their ability to understand and converse in the language.
"They are also encouraged to seek help from other passengers if they do encounter communication difficulties. So please help where you can," it added.