Sibling bus captains prove age is no matter

He has been a bus captain for 33 years, but Mr Koh Teck Heng, who drives bus service 190 between Choa Chu Kang Loop and Eu Tong Sen Street, has no intention of retiring anytime soon.

The 62-year-old chief bus captain even recruited his sister to join SMRT as a bus captain nine years ago.

Madam Koh Guek Khim, 53, who drives the feeder service 300 in Choa Chu Kang, said in Mandarin: "I had been a housewife all my life and wanted to take up something challenging."

Mr Koh, who is a father of two and grandfather of four, was initially driving in the Kranji area for bus operator Trans-Island Bus Service before it got subsumed under SMRT Corporation in May 2004 following a merger.

Read also: Driving same bus services brings brothers closer

Much has changed since, he said. "We didn't have air-conditioning in the buses then, only a large window that we manually slid up and down".Mr Koh said the most challenging part of mentoring younger bus captains is when they overlook the safety aspect of driving.

He said: "Even when I see my sister on the road while I am driving, I will wave to her briefly but still keep my eyes on the road."

He also takes time to mentor his younger sister outside of work.

Madam Koh, who is a mother of four and grandmother of two, said: "He is like my coach and he will give me tips on reversing a 'bendy' bus, driving safely and bus routes."

She also shared that being a woman bus driver has garnered her compliments.

She said: "Some commuters have commended me for being courageous enough to drive a 12m-long vehicle".

The siblings are motivated to continue providing Singaporeans with good service.

Mr Koh said: "I am happy when my commuters are happy, it is as simple as that."

This article was first published on Feb 18, 2017.
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