Extra training programme a must for new bus drivers

Singapore Bus Academy trainer Ho Hee Tock, 51, explaining the bus fare system to (from left) Mr Mok Kah Leong, 39, SBS trainee bus driver; Mr Yap Hong Hwi, 41, Go-Ahead bus driver; Mr Bernard Koh, 29, Tower Transit bus driver; and Mr Toh Swee Seng, 37, SM
Singapore Bus Academy trainer Ho Hee Tock, 51, explaining the bus fare system to (from left) Mr Mok Kah Leong, 39, SBS trainee bus driver; Mr Yap Hong Hwi, 41, Go-Ahead bus driver; Mr Bernard Koh, 29, Tower Transit bus driver; and Mr Toh Swee Seng, 37, SMRT bus driver. The group is in one of the academy's training rooms. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

New bus drivers, who want to obtain their licence, will now have to go through an additional centralised training programme conducted by the Singapore Bus Academy, which was officially opened yesterday.

The five-day Enhanced Vocational Licence Training Programme will cover foundational topics such as the public transport industry, omnibus driver's vocational licence and regulations, bus ticketing system and common fleet management systems, customer service and safe driving.

It will complement public bus operators' existing training programmes for the Omnibus Driver's Vocational Licence - the industry requirement for public bus drivers.

The programme will be conducted in both English and Mandarin by in-house trainers, as well as those from the National Transport Workers' Union, SBS Transit and SMRT.

Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo, who attended the opening, noted that the academy is part of the strategy "to raise professionalism through enhanced training".

She added that the Land Transport Authority and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) will provide training grants to cover around two-thirds of the programme fees for all local bus drivers.

The first batch of 30 trainees will start the programme at the end of this month.

One of the trainees who is looking forward to starting the programme is 57-year-old Yeo Teng Lam, a new bus driver with SBS.

"I'm interested in the safe driving aspect," said the former project manager in the construction industry. "It raises awareness of the potential dangers and hazards, so it benefits me as an individual too."

An estimated 2,000 new bus driver are expected to go through the programme every year.

The academy, which is located at the Devan Nair Institute for Employment and Employability in Jurong East, will provide more training programmes for bus drivers, as well as for other workers in the bus industry, such as technicians and planners, in the future.

It also serves as a career resource centre for members of the public who are interested in joining the public bus industry.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2016, with the headline 'Extra training programme a must for new bus drivers'. Print Edition | Subscribe