All sides play a part in bus safety

I recently witnessed a commotion between a bus driver and a commuter.

The woman had alighted but forgotten to tap her ez-link card. Realising her mistake, and to avoid the penalty, she quickly reboarded the bus and attempted to tap on the terminal.

The bus driver, upon hearing the signal to drive off, did just that and closed the rear door without realising the passenger was stuck in between. Fortunately, she was not injured.

The bus driver alighted and apologised profusely and explained that he was unable to see that she was at the rear door steps, and because she had alighted, he drove off as usual.

This unfortunate incident taught me some lessons.

First, it is natural for commuters to reboard the bus to tap their card to avoid being penalised.

Therefore, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) should temper its rule with mercy, by giving commuters at least three chances as a warning to help them to remember to tap their cards upon alighting.

Second, bus drivers should not assume that once the signal to go is sounded, it is safe to drive off.

They should wait for a few seconds just in case there are commuters around the exit.

Third, commuters should not attempt to reboard buses just to save some money. It is not worth their safety to do that.

We should understand that when the bus is packed with standing commuters, it is also hard for bus drivers to judge whether the exit doors are clear.

While the safety of commuters is a top priority for bus companies and drivers, it is also essential that commuters cooperate and abide by the instructions clearly displayed inside the buses, for their own safety.

Francis Cheng