Kindergarten pupils stranded due to termination of school bus services

Kindergarten pupils stranded due to termination of school bus services
Parents of Bethesda Bedok-Tampines Kindergarten were informed that school bus services will be terminated on Jan 12 without any updates beforehand.

One parent had to take urgent leave while another had to rush from her office to pick up her son from school.

Parents from Bethesda (Bedok-Tampines) Kindergarten were left scrambling after they were informed by the school's bus drivers on Saturday night that services will stop on Monday.

About a third - 70 out of 200 - of the kindergarten's pupils were affected by the sudden termination.

Mrs Grace Seah, the school's principal, said it was unexpected.

She said: "I was shocked. An ex-staff messaged me on Saturday that she received news from parents that the bus services will be terminated.

"Once I got the information, I immediately contacted the owner, who was also trying to find out what happened."

Parents interviewed said they had paid a one-month deposit of between $90 and $120, depending on distance.

Mrs Seah has made a police report against the bus company.

One bus driver, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lim, said his boss had told him and the other two drivers on Saturday to stop picking up the children from Monday.

"He didn't even tell us the reason. So we contacted the parents to inform them," he said.

Parents were told via a mass SMS. One parent, who wanted to be known only as Mrs S. Leong, said she had to take urgent leave to take her son to school and pick him up afterwards.

"My husband isn't in the country at the moment," she said.

SHOCKED

Another parent, who wanted to be known only as Madam Chin, said she was shocked when she received the news on Saturday.

"The bus operator should have given the parents a reason for the sudden change," she said.

Madam Sim Siew Hong, 56, a housewife, said the termination was troublesome as there is only one bus service that she and her granddaughter can take to the kindergarten.

"The bus stop is a few blocks away from the block that we live in, so we have to walk... What if it rains?" she said.

Mrs Seah said the school has engaged the services of Koh Transportation Services for more than five years.

She said: "We had a meeting with some of the parents and another bus operator (yesterday).

"Hopefully, the plan is to have the buses for the children by Monday."

When The New Paper went to Koh Transportation Services' official address, we found a car workshop instead.

An Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority search showed that the business status has been cancelled.

The owner of Koh Transportation Services could not be reached for comment.


This article was first published on January 15, 2015.
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