7 August 2007

Don't Beat Up Bus Captains Campaign!


It's somewhat tragic and funny at the same time when I saw this on the bus. Tragic because there have been 2 cases of passenger rage that I have come across so far. (I'm hardly with news, sorry.) So much for being a first world city... Funny because, well, we need such a sign to remind people who don't keep up with the news (like me).

Anyway, the incident of The Bus Captain's Face attacking Hwa Chong Junior College Student's Fist was a conversation topic recently with a few friends.

When I related the part about the confiscation of EZ-Link cards, Zengrong also brought up a valid point, "What would the transport company gain by confiscating the EZ-Link cards? It will only cause inconvenience to the passenger."

I thought about that question. While it is a policy and standard operating procedure to confiscate the cards, (must have been thought up by people who never needed to take public transport) the passenger gets inconvenienced because without the card, he/she have inconveniences traveling the with public transport. It is almost like getting stranded. And that's not to mention that the passenger has to follow the bus captain all the way back to the bus interchange to fix things. What if the passenger had a tight schedule to follow? He/she would probably have to chuck the his/her EZ-Link. But somebody thought about that, so bus captains have to "trap" these people in the bus until backup arrives.

While I am not sure if the bus captain can see the exact card problem on his console, I think it will help in conveying the message effectively to the passenger with the problematic card. I mean the last I read was that the EZ-Link cards were confiscated on grounds of suspicion that they might have been reported lost. And for that, the 2 reports of passenger rage occurred.

Of course, I am not siding the bus captain bashing loonies. Violence is wrong, period. But I think the procedure needs to be reassessed.

Rather than confiscating the card, I think the transport company could do better by suggesting alternatives to the passenger. He/she can pay by cash or allow the bus captain to note down his/her NRIC and EZ-Link serial number for a thorough check at the bus interchange. That way, nobody gets disrupted on his/her journey. For all we know, it the problem could have just been a lack of funds.

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