SBS Transit Launches Singapore’s First School-friendly Public Bus Service To Ease School Bus Driver Crunch And Empower Young Students To Travel Independently

Napassanun Rungvittayanun, a 12-year-old student from Townsville Primary School, commutes daily to and from school on Bus Service 261. Concerned for her safety, Napassanun’s mother, Madam Surangpimol Treerapongse, 49, who is a homemaker, accompanies her on her journeys. Thanks to the newly-launched “School-Friendly Public Bus Service”, which aims to help young students travel safely, independently, and confidently, Mdm Surangpimol can now be at ease.

Aimed at also helping young students and their parents in addressing their need for school transport arrangements due to the shortage of private bus drivers, this initiative hopes to alleviate the situation by making public buses a viable option for young school-going children.

Early this morning, Mr Gan Thiam Poh, Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC, officially launched Bus Service 261 as the first School-friendly Public Bus Service at the Ang Mo Kio Bus Interchange. In collaboration with Townsville Primary School, which is located in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, this bus service provides children, who can be as young as six years old, with a safe and supportive environment to learn how to travel to and from school safely. Dedicated Bus Ambassadors, acting as trusted guides, accompany students on their journeys to ensure a smooth passage from Ang Mo Kio bus interchange to the bus stop opposite the Townsville Primary School. The Ambassadors, some of whom are the school’s parent volunteers, walk with the children to the school gate, including crossing the road while the bus continues on its regular route. After school, the Ambassadors will also accompany the students on their return journey.

Mr Jeffrey Sim, Group Chief Executive Officer of SBS Transit, said: “As Singapore's largest public bus operator, we came up with this innovative approach not just for the interim but as a sustainable solution for the long run so that parents can get their young children to school conveniently. We would be keen to roll out this service to more schools if there is good uptake for it. For us at SBS Transit, this is an opportunity to serve our community and we remain committed to providing safe, reliable and delightful journeys."

Mr Eddie Foo, Principal of Townsville Primary School, said: “We are delighted to partner SBS Transit in piloting the School-Friendly Public Bus Service initiative. This initiative will not only encourage our students to safely utilise public transportation for their daily commute to school but also promote sustainable transportation habits and enhance the overall commuting experience for our students.”

Madam Surangpimol, who is a Bus Ambassador, said: “With the help of Bus Ambassadors, I will feel more at ease to let my daughter travel to and from school by public bus on her own as I know that there is someone onboard to guide and assist her. This is a good idea and I support it as I know it will help other children and their parents too.”