Senior Minister of State for Transport calls for more women bus drivers

Mrs Josephine Teo during a National Day tea session with the female bus captains at the Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange.
Mrs Josephine Teo during a National Day tea session with the female bus captains at the Yishun Temporary Bus Interchange. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Senior Minister of State for Transport Josephine Teo called for more women to become bus drivers on Friday following a tea session with with 15 female bus captains in Yishun.

"If you look at the entire workforce of bus captains, just about six per cent are women," she said. "I asked the lady bus captains if there was any reason why the share of women amongst bus captains cannot be higher than it is today, and none of them saw any reason why it couldn't be the case.

"That encourages us to reach out to women, and to help to dispel the fears they have, that this is a very difficult skill to learn, a difficult lifestyle to have.

"When you speak with these lady bus captains, they found it actually to be quite easy to drive. Many of the ladies also like the fact that it is a very stable job. It provides a stable income, and they like the ability to lead independent lives and provide a service to the community."

SMRT said its number of female bus captains has doubled since 2010 while SBS Transit said it has close to 400 female bus captains, which is slightly more than six per cent of its strength.

One bus captain who particularly impressed Mrs Teo was was Ms Siti Nurul'ain.

The 25-year-old studied molecular biotechnology at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and earned a degree in sociology from the the University of Buffalo at the Singapore Institute of Management but decided to become a bus driver with SMRT about four months ago, to the astonishment of her friends.

"It's actually a childhood dream," she said. "When I was younger, my father used to drive a bus. I always followed him and and looked up to him and told myself I wanted to try it when I grew older.

"I also really like customer service, so I thought why not, since I've been wanting to drive a bus, and at the same time I can serve people."

tiffanyt@sph.com.sg