Move over school bus, here comes the school car

Move over school bus, here comes the school car

Seven-year-old Sydney Tang used to wake up at 5.15am daily to catch the school bus for her 14km commute to school.

Now, she gets to sleep an extra hour because of a premium car service introduced by the Singapore School Transport Association (SSTA).

The school car takes Sydney, who lives at Alexandra Road, and three other children living in the area to Bukit Timah Primary School.

The school car, an electric car that covers 250 to 300 km after two hours of charging, can carry up to four children. Conventional school buses usually take between 20 and 30 children.

Sydney's father, Mr Mark Tang, 39, pays $350 for this car service, more than the $210 he paid for the school bus service.

Mr Tang, who works in the finance industry, does not mind because he and his wife are getting more rest now.

He and his wife used to get up at the same time as their daughter so that they could get her ready for school. She would arrive in school by 7.30am.

The soft launch of SSTA's school car service took place three months ago. Since then, they have been providing this school car service to about 30 students from 11 schools.

Officially launched yesterday at the SSTA headquarters, the premium school transport service has received significant interest from parents who are willing to spend more to cut down on their

children's daily travel time.

About 70 children are on the service's waiting list.

SSTA chairman Wong Ann Lin said there are more than 10 cars in operation sending students to and from the schools.

ALTERNATIVE

The cars are an emission-free alternative for those who live far from school.

The pupils get to watch DVDs during their journey.

Previously, most of them used the school bus service, which meant that they and, usually, their parents had to wake up earlier in the morning.

"Sydney was often tired and low-energy when she woke up," said Mr Tang.

Now, Sydney gets eight hours of sleep.

"My daughter is happier now because she is better rested. She now goes to school more refreshed," he said.

He and his wife had previously considered alternatives for Sydney.

"I don't drive because the cost of owning a car is too high. We tried cabbing for a while, but the monthly transport costs would amount to $600 to $700."

Mr Tan also added that his daughter found the driver very helpful and friendly, saying that he always helps her with her school bag.

Mr Tang is considering letting his six-year-old son, Brandon, take the school car when he attends Primary 1 next year.


This article was first published on April 18, 2015.
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