Call to show support for public transport workers

Passengers would buy medicine for senior bus captain Chua Cheng Chuah if he fell sick.
Passengers would buy medicine for senior bus captain Chua Cheng Chuah if he fell sick.

SMRT station manager Charnjit Singh, 52, sees it as part of his duty to help improve public opinion of his employer, which has taken a hit recently over an MRT tunnel flooding last month due to a severe maintenance lapse.

"It is our duty to change the perception of commuters... Day to day, we make sure we make commuters happy by going the extra mile, by answering their questions and helping them with directions."

He and another staff member were commended on Facebook for helping a woman who had fallen ill near the Lakeside MRT station in September.

Facebook user Jairus Teo, who alerted SMRT staff to the woman he saw squatting at a traffic light, snapped a photo of Mr Singh and his assistant manager walking out to render help.

"Two SMRT officers immediately provide support... SMRT staff, well done," Mr Teo wrote.

Showing support for the 22,000 public transport workers here like Mr Singh is what the Government, labour movement and public transport operators are hoping to encourage, with the first appreciation day held yesterday.

Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said at a carnival held at Bedok Town Square: "Today is a good opportunity for us all to be grateful to these silent, everyday heroes who make our daily trips possible."

He cited senior bus captain Chua Cheng Chuah, 67, who is so familiar to his passengers that they would buy medicine for him if he fell sick.

Mr Chua, who has been working for SBS Transit for 48 years, said in Mandarin: "They are like friends and family. Everyday, we will greet each other on the bus."

Adrian Lim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 15, 2017, with the headline 'Call to show support for public transport workers'. Print Edition | Subscribe