Boarding the bus? Say 'thank you' to the driver

Mr Baey Yam Keng (at far left) speaking to public transport workers from SBS Transit at Tampines Bus Interchange after the launch of the Public Transport Workers' Appreciation Campaign yesterday.
Mr Baey Yam Keng (at far left) speaking to public transport workers from SBS Transit at Tampines Bus Interchange after the launch of the Public Transport Workers' Appreciation Campaign yesterday.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

Campaign aims to get commuters to show appreciation to public transport workers

At 3am, when most people are fast asleep, Ms Azlillawati Abdullah's day is just beginning.

After preparing breakfast for her two children aged 11 and seven, the SBS Transit bus driver, 40, heads to Seletar Bus Depot, where she starts her first route at 5.40am. She drives Bus 851 to either the Yishun or Bukit Merah bus interchange.

She then runs the services between them until about 3pm.

Ms Azlillawati is among the 22,000 public transport workers here, including bus captains and rail engineers, that are the subject of a new campaign launched yesterday.

Called the Public Transport Workers' Appreciation Campaign, it features outdoor posters, walkway banners, bus advertisements and digital engagement efforts, such as contests on Facebook, which are aimed at encouraging the public to thank public transport workers.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng, who launched the campaign yesterday, said transport workers here work very hard, rain or shine, to provide efficient and reliable service, whether on the bus or MRT network.

"If you can spare a thought, give them a smile. Greet them," said Mr Baey, who visited public transport workers at Tampines MRT station and bus interchange.

MEANINGFUL GESTURE

When the bus captain waits for you, just say 'thank you' as you board the bus. It will really make their day, and these gestures will motivate them to deliver better service to the public.

MR BAEY YAM KENG, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Culture, Community and Youth, on how commuters can motivate public transport workers.

"When the bus captain waits for you, just say 'thank you' as you board the bus. It will really make their day, and these gestures will motivate them to deliver better service to the public."

Besides front-line transport workers, there are also others behind the scenes - such as engineering and cleaning staff - who keep the services working, said Mr Baey, who is an MP for Tampines GRC.

For example, The Straits Times spoke to Mr Don Ng, 36, a chief controller with SMRT, who oversees a team of 10 train service controllers and is in charge of regulating train services and maintaining the frequency of trains. This helps ensure safe and reliable journeys for commuters, he said.

When issues arise, such as the MRT tunnel flooding incident or delays that occurred during the introduction of the new signalling system on the North-South Line last year, Mr Ng often pitches in to help, even when he is off duty.

"I believe we should support each other when incidents happen," he said, adding that he sees his work as part of providing an essential service to the public here.

Commuters can also show their appreciation to the public transport workers by sharing their messages online, using the hashtag #ThankYouPTWorkers.

The campaign is jointly organised by the Land Transport Authority and Ministry of Transport.

It is supported by the National Transport Workers' Union, Singapore Kindness Movement, as well as public transport operators SBS Transit, SMRT, Tower Transit and Go-Ahead Singapore.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2018, with the headline 'Boarding the bus? Say 'thank you' to the driver'. Print Edition | Subscribe