More than 420 frontline staff and drivers from public transport companies received national kindness awards for outstanding service in a ceremony on Monday.
Speaking at the Transport Gold 2013 ceremony, Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Mrs Josephine Teo said: "Private vehicle usage in current forms cannot grow much more without negatively impacting our environment.
"The government will press on in enhancing public transport, but heartware is just important as hardware in the commuting experience."
Mrs Teo commended service staff who went the extra mile to make journeys more pleasant for commuters. Some returned lost items left on public transport while others greeted their regulars by name.
But as much as service staff should go the extra mile, commuters must also make an extra effort not to vent their frustrations on public transport service staff, said Mrs Teo. Passengers might scold drivers when their bus arrives late, but Mrs Teo urged them to consider the possibility that the bus was held up by a road accident.
"We should avoid allowing abuse of frontline staff to become the norm, this is not helpful at all in carrying out their work and a deterrent to Singaporeans taking up such jobs," she said.
The awards were organised by 14 public transport companies and associations, and supported by the Singapore Kindness Movement, the Traffic Police and the Land Transport Authority. In 2012, about 7 million trips were made on buses, trains and taxis daily.