Commuter without mask abuses and assaults bus driver
SBS Transit condemns attack, thanks bystanders who apprehended assailant
An SBS Transit bus driver was verbally abused and then assaulted by a commuter without a mask yesterday.
In a Facebook post yesterday, SBS Transit said the incident lasted 12 minutes and happened around 2.45pm.
The 52-year-old man had boarded a service 21 bus on Pasir Ris Drive 6 without a mask and put it on later.
He then uttered vulgarities at the bus captain and this continued for two more bus stops.
While the bus was parked in front of Block 210 in Pasir Ris Drive 1 waiting for the police to arrive, the man grabbed the bus driver's neck and collar and held on for more than a minute.
SBS Transit said: "He refused to let go even when our bus captain pleaded with him to do so.
"Our bus captain could be seen cowering with his arms shielding his face as the man started punching him repeatedly on the head."
Three young men who were at the bus stop then boarded the bus, tackled the assailant, and dragged him out, SBS Transit said.
At the bus stop, they pinned him to the ground. Police later led the man away in handcuffs.
Police said the man was arrested for possession of an offensive weapon and voluntarily causing hurt.
He will be charged in court today.
The bus driver, 39, was taken to Changi General Hospital, and has been given three days of medical leave.
"We are thankful that he did not sustain any serious injuries. He is shaken but remains in good spirits," said SBS Transit.
In the post, SBS Transit also expressed its gratitude to the three men.
The company condemned the actions of the assailant and said the incident is not an isolated one.
It said: "Several of our bus captains have been abused in the last few months on account of enforcing the strict mask-up rule. This is repugnant. And this must stop."
Last month, SBS Transit filed a police report after a commuter verbally abused a bus driver after he was told to wear his mask properly.
Also last month, another commuter posted a 15-minute-long live video of himself verbally abusing a bus driver who would not let him board the bus.
The commuter was wearing a neck gaiter and using it as a face mask.
There have been about 80 cases of disputes involving commuters who did not mask up on public transport since April, the Land Transport Authority said last month.
About 40 people have been fined for not doing so, while the remaining cases are pending, or were resolved without police involvement.