SINGAPORE, Sept 16 — An SBS Transit bus captain was assaulted by a male commuter who boarded the bus without a mask along Pasir Ris Drive 6 yesterday.
In a Facebook post today, SBS Transit said the incident happened at about 2.45pm on bus service 21.
“The man boarded without a mask and only put it on after. He then started to hurl vulgarities at our bus captain and this continued all the way for two more bus stops,” the post read.
SBS Transit said the police were alerted to the commotion and the bus captain pulled into a bus bay to wait for them to arrive.
At this point, the man grabbed the driver’s neck and collar for more than a minute and refused to let go despite the driver’s pleas to stop.
“Our bus captain could be seen cowering with his arms shielding his face as the man started punching him repeatedly on the head,” said SBS Transit.
The public transport operator said that three young men who were at the bus stop then rushed in and tackled the assailant before dragging him out of the bus to the bus stop.
They pinned the man to the ground before he was handcuffed and taken away by the police.
Police said it received a call for assistance at about 2.48pm along Pasir Ris Drive 1 that day.
The 39-year-old driver was conscious when conveyed to the Changi General Hospital (CGH) and a 52-year-old man was subsequently arrested for possession of offensive weapon and voluntarily causing hurt.
Police investigations are ongoing.
SBS said the bus driver was given three days of medical leave.
“We are thankful that he did not sustain any serious injuries. He is shaken but remains in good spirits,” it said.
SBS Transit said the incident is not an isolated one, adding that several of its bus drivers have been abused in the last months for enforcing the use of masks.
Last month, another SBS Transit bus driver was threatened after he refused to let a man board the bus as he was wearing a neck gaiter instead of a face mask.
The bus driver was seen calling his company for help while the man used abusive language on him and said the driver’s actions were racially motivated.
Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung then said there is no excuse for anyone to physically or verbally abuse bus drivers.
Expressing his appreciation for bus drivers, Ong added that they begin their days as early as 4am, ensuring that passengers get to schools, offices and errands “in a timely and safe manner”.
“We may live in uncertain times due to Covid-19 … The last thing we need on a bus is an uncooperative and abusive passenger.” — TODAY