Recognising the ‘silent heroes’ of public transport
Public Transport Workers' Appreciation Day held for first time
Mr Charnjit Singh's 18-year-old daughter Rushwin Kaur proudly describes him as one of many "silent heroes" in Singapore's public transport system.
Mr Charnjit, 52, has been working for SMRT for 30 years, having seen the MRT system evolve from the original five stations on the North-South Line to the current 119 stations across eight MRT lines.
"I grew up with the MRT and working on the MRT is in me," he said yesterday.
Mr Charnjit was one of 22,000 public transport workers who were celebrated at the inaugural Public Transport Workers' Appreciation Day held at Bedok Town Square yesterday.
"There is a sense of pride when our service is recognised by the country and its people," he said.
With a number of train disruptions this year, including the latest one on Oct 7 that affected the North-South Line, he was asked if this had been a particularly tough period, and he said: "Every year is tough, it is just how you look at it."
Tower Transit Singapore is a new face on the public transport scene here, having started bus operations on May 29 last year.
Miss Gena Goh, 25, is a service controller with the company and the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Electronic and Computer Engineering graduate said the hardest part of her job was communicating with the bus captains and their supervisors.
"You have to learn their lingo and understand what they are going through on the roads... They are now like a second family to me," she said.
Miss Goh, who starts work at 4.30am in a 10-hour shift, is like a "third eye" on buses, tracking their movements through GPS.
She has had angry commuters yelling at her through the radios of bus captains, when she tells them to slow down to avoid road works, accidents or prevent bunching of vehicles.
Miss Goh is grateful for Appreciation Day, jointly organised by the National Transport Workers' Union and the Land Transport Authority.
She said:"I think a lot of people don't even know we exist because we work behind the scenes, so this feels nice."