Photo of crowded shuttle bus taken by CNA Justin Ong

According to a state media reporter’s account, SMRT deployed shuttle bus drivers who did not know their routes when there was no train service yesterday (Aug 18).

At 8.30am yesterday, CNA reporter Justin Ong complained that “cabs (are) never there when you need them, and Grab and Uber prices soaring”, and took a wrong queue because SMRT did not provide any direction for free shuttle bus services. When he finally boarded the correct shuttle bus, the government media reporter complained about overcrowding in the bus.

State media reporter Justin Ong then wrote that the bus driver missed a turn to Braddell station, and he interviewed the driver who said:

“I’ve been driving for 22 years, this is my first time activated for something like this. The problem is I’m unfamiliar with the Bishan, Toa Payoh areas. I told HQ this, but they said ‘Never mind, the control room will guide you over radio.'”

SMRT headquarters was then heard telling the driver to slow down because all the shuttle bus drivers do not know their routes. The state media reporter commented that he has to be the GPS instead:

“Until I heard this: ‘Can you slow down so the shuttles behind can catch up? They don’t know the way too.’ Neither did our driver; he was still following instructions from the passenger, who eventually got off at Novena. It was left to me to direct the driver towards Newton – after all, it was just one more stop, right? Not really. This was what was communicated next: “Hey sorry, can you go all the way to Marina South Pier? You know how right? Call back when you get there.” Being somewhat familiar with the rest of the route, I cautiously agreed to become a human GPS.”

The bus driver was then told to change his destination and arrived at City Hall at 9.45am – 30 minutes longer than the usual bus trip between Braddell and City Hall.

State media reporter Justin Ong ended his report in usual propaganda fashion saying he is happy about Singaporeans helping bus drivers to find their way:

“I won’t be forgetting that sight of solidarity any time soon.”