A commuter who took the shuttle bus offered by transport operator, SMRT, wrote a Facebook post regarding his experience on a shuttle bus service provided as SMRT enforced a full day closure for several stations along the North-South (NSL) and East-West Lines (EWL) on Sunday (10 December).
SMRT had earlier announced that 17 MRT stations on East-West Line (EWL) and two MRT stations on North-South Line (NSL) will be fully closed on 10 and 17 Dec (Both Sundays) to allow for extended engineering hours.
Other than the closure, the 17 MRT stations from Tiong Bahru to Tuas Link along EWL and the two stations on NSL, Bukit Batok and Bukit Gombak will close earlier on Friday and Saturday at 11pm and open later on Saturdays and Sundays at 8am from 8 December to 31 December.
Mr Hu Wei Fei was riding on a shuttle bus (SBS3049S) and first commented that he had been stuck for nearly 45 minutes on the shuttle between Clementi MRT station and Jurong East MRT station.
“And it looks like it will take another half hour,” he added.
Hu stated that the routes of these shuttles were badly planned as it seems that SMRT had squeezed all shuttles into a single direction and wrote “Road are cramped,”
He then added that an accident happened and the so-called ‘shuttle’ was overcrowded with elderly and young people, describing what he saw as many of the passengers being tired from the journey and the air-conditioning is poor.
“People are finding it hard to breathe,” he wrote, adding that along the way he hoped nothing serious would happen.
He then commented that planning of routes of these so-called shuttles can be better.
“Don’t believe all that you read in the press about this being ‘smooth-going’,” the man wrote in his post.
Hu shared that during the journey, a pregnant lady needed to get off, not because she needed to give birth, but has trouble holding her urine. The driver needed to ask for permission from his management but it was obvious she was suffering.
He wrote, “The absurdity was that in such situations, employees in Singapore are afraid to exercise discretion but ask for permission to do the obvious. Luckily, ‘permission’ was given. The pregnant lady and husband got off. But driver told everyone to stay in. We are still trapped in the bus.”
Hu noted that the driver was too scared to let passengers off. He quoted a man saying that his female companion is throwing up and that people were tired and anxious especially since air conditioning was bad.
Although the bus is just by a bus stop but the driver was still too scared to let the sick out. Hu noted that the driver got defensive but wrote that he cannot be blamed as the system screws up people’s ability to exercise own thinking.
The passengers were finally allowed to be disembarked after Hu called the police to inform SMRT finally let the passengers alight under such circumstances.
“This is actually both scary and disappointing, knowing that people are too afraid to do the right thing and still need to ask for permission.” wrote Hu. Hu emphasised that the driver should not be blamed for the chaos but the upper management who planned the service, “Don’t blame the driver. He is trying his best. The madness is all coming from much higher up,”