8 public buses with protective screens to shield drivers begin 6-month trial

National Transport Workers' Union executive secretary Melvin Yong  (left) taking a tour inside one of the buses that was fitted with impact-resistant screens to protect bus drivers on Jan 12, 2018.
National Transport Workers' Union executive secretary Melvin Yong (left) taking a tour inside one of the buses that was fitted with impact-resistant screens to protect bus drivers on Jan 12, 2018.

SINGAPORE - Eight public buses fitted with impact-resistant screens to protect bus drivers started plying the roads on Saturday (Jan 13), with eight more to be deployed by February.

The protective screens are part of a six-month trial by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to better shield bus drivers from potential hijacks or assaults, said National Transport Workers' Union (NTWU) executive secretary Melvin Yong.

On Friday night, Mr Yong posted several photos on Facebook of his visit to the Woodlands bus depot, where he climbed aboard one of the buses.

He wrote that the measures come in the light of a heightened security threat here.

The four public bus operators - Go-Ahead Singapore, SBS Transit, SMRT Buses and Tower Transit - are involved in the pilot trial, he added.

LTA told The Straits Times that the trial will allow it to test the effectiveness of the screens and assess if they would affect the bus captains’ ability to carry out their duties.

Mr Yong, who is also a Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC, suggested installing protective screens on public buses in Parliament in November last year (2017).

In response, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said that LTA would be conducting a trial in early 2018 to test the effectiveness and feasibility of the protective screens.

Dr Lam said: "The trial will also allow LTA to gather feedback from commuters and other road users, as similar implementation elsewhere has attracted complaints like the blinding glare off the screens."

In his Facebook post, Mr Yong encouraged bus drivers and commuters to give their feedback and suggestions during the trial period.