Spotted: Kid sitting on steps of moving bus

The conduct of bus drivers is in the spotlight, following two recent incidents in which bus passengers were injured seriously.

The cases were said to have resulted from the drivers applying the brakes suddenly.

In a photo posted on citizen-journalism website Stomp last Saturday, a child is seen perched on the steps of an SMRT bus.

It sparked concern over what could have happened if the driver braked, and why the child was there in the first place.

The child, who looked no older than three years old, was seen holding onto the bus door's metal handrail with only one hand. It was not clear whether there was a parent or guardian with the child.

Real-estate agent Henry Lim, 49, who contributed the photo, said that the bus had stopped at a traffic junction in Bukit Batok Central at 12.25pm.

Concerned for the child's safety, Mr Lim gestured to the driver and pointed to the child but was ignored by the driver, who drove off, he said.

Mr Lim said he did not manage to take down the bus-service number but spotted the vehicle at a bus stop nearby.

Three SMRT bus services - 173, 187 and 189 - call at that bus stop, he said.

He added: "The issue here is why the bus driver did not stop the child."

Last month, 54-year-old Ding Weibo ended up in a coma after she fell and hit her head aboard an SMRT bus, after the driver applied the brakes suddenly.

About a week ago, Mr Koh Chuan Hock, 57, suffered memory loss and a lack of strength in his right limbs after a fall onboard an SBS Transit bus. The driver had braked abruptly to avoid a car that cut into his lane, said a report by The New Paper last Saturday.

Former president of the National Safety Council Tan Jin Thong said that in the latest case involving the child, the bus driver should have alerted the parent or guardian immediately to take the child off the steps.

"If there was an accident or if the door opened, the child would have been flung off the bus," said Mr Tan.

However, it is unfair to put the blame solely on bus drivers as parents should be responsible for their children, said Mr Gerard Ee, who chairs the Public Transport Council.

"It's really whether we want the driver to concentrate on the road or whatever the passengers are up to," he said.

Mr Ee added that there may be times when drivers have to brake suddenly to avoid collisions, and passengers have to exercise common sense to ensure their own safety.

When contacted, SMRT said that it would investigate the incident.

shong@sph.com.sg


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