A netizen recently shared about how an SBS Transit bus driver allegedly refused to let her autistic son board the bus without a mask on.
The vice-president of SBS Transit’s customer experience and communications, Grace Wu, has since come out and apologised to the netizen for the unsavoury experience.
She said that the bus captain wanted to be sure because mask-wearing on public transport was mandatory, and he was seeking clarification from the SBS Operations Control Centre before resuming the journey.
However the OP and her family had already alighted from the bus before the OCC could respond accordingly.
Hi, I would like to bring awareness to public about masks wearing for special needs individuals. I’m very disappointed with SBS driver of bus 76.
I am a mother of 12 years old son (autism and non-verbal). We boarded bus 76 opposite AMK Big Mac centre at around 7.40pm.
Despite showing the special needs card and explaining to the bus driver that my son is special needs, the bus driver refused to start the bus unless my son put on a mask.
I told him out of 10 buses I took all the 10 buses allowed us to board the bus. He say he is merly following SOP and will call HQ to check.
I’ve told him that government allowed special needs to be exception in wearing mask. I told him to go ahead and make it a quick 1 as I do not want to waste other passengers time and I apologize to all the passengers as this is wasting everybody time.
I also told him that I will lodge a feedback on this issue and he challenged me to go ahead. As I was waiting, a middle aged guy walked up to me and offered a mask.
I explained that I also have masks in my bag but my son will have meltdown if I forced put on him. This guy seems pissed and walked away.
I’m quite pressured with glares from the passengers as the bus driver refused to start the bus. In the end, the call was taking too long to be answered and I have no choice but to ask my husband and son to alight the bus and wait for another bus.
This is the first time such unfortunate incident happened as we have met really awesome drivers previously. We tried calling the SBS transit call centre for help but there’s nobody answering the call.
We are not trying to make things difficult for people but just disappointed that public awareness of special needs are so bad.
It is not easy to be caregiver of special needs. We just hope to be treated fairly with due respect too.
It is fortunate that my son did not have a meltdown due to this and my husband is with me. I cannot imagine the case if my son is to have a meltdown due to this.