Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Social Behaviour on Bus

ST Fourm
Jan 13, 2007 Old woman helpless on bus full of uncaring passengers
I TOOK a single-deck SBS bus No. 51 (SBS 237) to work on Friday, Jan 5 at about 7.50am. Since it was peak hour, the bus was considerably filled with passengers.

I got on at the first bus stop after the bus left the terminal in Hougang Central Interchange.
Half an hour into the journey, the bus was already crammed full of passengers with barely space to turn, yet the bus driver kept stopping at every stop to pick up more passengers.

During this period, a frail thin elderly woman in her 60s standing no more than 1.5m tall boarded the bus. Inevitably, she was clustered around by passengers.

Standing smack between other bodies, she could barely get a firm grip on the head rest of a seat occupied by passengers half her age.

As the bus lurched and jerked along, there were a number of times she nearly fell. The bus driver made it worse by forcing passengers to move towards the rear so he could pick up more passengers even though there was hardly space.

The poor old woman was bundled around helplessly. All this while, no seated passenger bothered to give up his seat. Only 30 minutes into the journey, the seated young and middle-aged men and women were already transcending into oblivion, I think.

When the bus drew near Ubi Driving Centre, the old woman began to shiver and her legs shook so much, they were hardly able to support her. Her hands were losing their grip though she tried her best to hold on. Her head started to tilt upwards and her eyes began to close. She had turned pale and was gasping for breath.

Involuntarily, she sank till she was almost kneeling on the floor but the passengers standing around her only stared at her and edged away. Some of those seating were watching how she crumpled.

I reached out to help her but was only able to extend one hand as I was blocked by another standing passenger who was watching the action unfold.

Another woman next to her also tried to hold her steady but was also constrained by non-moving 'meat'. An elderly uncle standing next to me had to ask those sitting down to give her their seat in Hokkien. But no one stirred and they still had the audacity to either pretend nothing was happening or continue their pious meditation.

I had to shout at the selective-hearing people in the seats to move one pair of gluteus maximus for the old woman. Finally, one of them heard and gave up her seat to the old woman who had to be helped to sit down.

The woman who gave up her seat applied medicated oil to the old woman who was in a daze. During the commotion, the bus driver continued to shout at us to move in more to accommodate more passengers.

To the management of SBS Transit, what is considered a safe full load on a single-deck bus? How does the bus driver know when the bus is full? Why is a single-deck bus used to ply the No. 51 route during morning peak hour when the route is long and there are so many passengers?

Except for three standing passengers and one seated woman on the bus who helped the old woman, none of the people in the front half of the bus lifted a finger. If we cannot even lift a finger to help one of our own, we, as educated adults in an educated developed nation, have failed.

Fabian Chia Choon Liang

Sad that Singapore Society had became so uncaring.

This is what our education had brought us to.

Basically it is the survival of the fittest symptom.

From young we are brainwashed to exceed academically and don’t need to pay much attention to subjects that are not exam-able like, Moral Education, Arts or Physical Education.

When you step into a working environment, again you have to be involved with office politics whether you like it or not. And you have to make yourself stand out of you peers so to get a good “not so transparent” appraisal so you can move up the corporate ladder.

It is to no surprise that we had become what we are today.

Also Fabian had posts a good question to our “world class public transport” provider. Which I will try to answer on their behalf.

To the management of SBS Transit, what is considered a safe full load on a single-deck bus?
As long as people can get in without dying in the process.

How does the bus driver know when the bus is full?
When somebody die?

Why is a single-deck bus used to ply the No. 51 route during morning peak hour when the route is long and there are so many passengers?
To maximised profit. It is better to get a single deck 110% full then to get a double decker 90% full.

Privatisation of public transport provider is really a nonsense. The company primary target is to reel in maximum profit at the expense of passangers therefore the commuters are the one made to suffer. Bottom of the food chain my friend.

Personally I also had an encounter with a fellow passenger got into a fit on a bus. The bus was fairly empty and a gentlemen and myself have to help that man to seat up. Meanwhile the driver just ignore whatever going on. To be fair, it was about 2 bus stop away from the interchange. But once the bus pull into the bay, the drive nonchalantly walk towards us and then pick up his phone to call his supervisor.

I thought the should all driver be taught some first aids? Or does SBS Transit has a guild to its drivers on what to do during medical emergency?

I doubt there is any top management in SBS Transit, SMRT or Trans Island takes buses or train to work. More less probable for the MIW.


FatBoi IN MaeSai said...

Privatisation of public transport provider is really a nonsense.

I think you missed out "Monopoly" :)

I am alright with privatisation, so long that our gahment opens up the transport market for all players. Mind you, last time we still get private school buses ferrying people to Shenton way. What happened to them??

About overloading, here in Thailand, the cheapest buses always overload and every time I always see people give up seats for the elderly, children or pregnant ladies. I'm not sure about Bangkok but this is so true over here in Maesai. When my wife was pregnant and we took the bus to Chiang Rai for check up. Every time, some people will give up their seats even on a fully packed bus. And they do it diligently once we boarded the bus. Another experience involves the bus conductor (yes, I believe we should have them on every bus) asking some students to give up their seats for an old lady and they comply immediately without hesitation or giving a black face.

We are rich and more educated in Singapore but yet, we failed miserably in social graciousness

Balonglong78 said...

Totally agree.... When will they weak up their ideal... don't tell me they don't know when is peak Hr? can't more bus come on peak hr? today morning... again i witness there best planing of bus schedule... three bus come on the same time! 166.... hokkien "bo wai gong!"