Last Saturday, a 66 year old woman was run over and killed on the spot by a SBS Transit bus driven by a PRC driver. Yesterday, a primary school boy was knocked down by a SMRT bus and fractured his ankle.
In her latest posting on Facebook, Nicole wrote the increasing number of such reports is worrying which has led to greater insecurity and loss of confidence in both commuters and pedestrians alike.
She added that there needs to be greater accountability and raised the following questions to the relevant authorities:
1. Are the bus companies able to furnish statistics demonstrating the number of fatalities arising from public transport-related incidents over the past decade? Has there been a trend of an increasing amount of fatalities or casualities that the citizens of Singapore should be concerned about? If the bus companies have already detected such a trend, what are the measures put in place to resolve this problem?
2. What are the hiring practices for bus captains? How rigorous and stringent is their probation period before they are allowed onto the roads? For new citizens or foreign employees, what are the practices involved in ensuring that they are familiarised with the road conduct in Singapore and its traffic rules?
The recent spate of accidents also lead to rising concerns over the driving skills of foreign bus drivers under the employment of both bus companies.
Both the government and the public transport companies have declined to furnish more information to the public on their hiring policies as well as the number of traffic accidents caused by foreign drivers.
However, Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said in Parliament on Monday that all foreign drivers are ‘adequately’ trained before they are allowed to drive on Singapore roads:
“The more important thing actually is to make sure (that), regardless of nationality, every driver is adequately trained, appropriately qualified, and especially if they come from abroad, then they are given the kind of orientation that will help them familiarise themselves with the peculiarities of the system in Singapore.”
He added that “bus driver salaries for this sector should remain market-driven, and private bus operators should make their own commercial decisions on how to ensure that their businesses remain viable in the face of a tightening labour market.”