Just last month, it was reported that a helper and a boy with down syndrome was chased off the bus for not wearing his mask. This is despite them having proof that the child is exempted.
Another similar incident happened recently. A mother of a 12-year-old with non-verbal autism took to Facebook to share her negative experience. The family boarded bus 76 opposite Ang Mo Kio Big Mac in the evening. However, the bus driver allegedly refused to start the bus unless the child puts on his mask. This is despite showing his special needs card.
This is the first time the family is experiencing this
The bus driver says that he is following SOP and had to call his headquarters to check.
“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.”Chacco Tlm
The son will have a meltdown if she forced the mask on him. He is unable to verbally express his frustrations and that makes his meltdown worse. Hence, even though a middle-aged man walked up to the family to offer a mask, it does not help the situation.
In the end, because the headquarters took too long to answer and the family was pressured by glares from other passenger, they decided 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.”Chacco Tlm
It is unfortunate that many Singaporeans are still uninformed about special needs. However, it should be on SBS and other bus companies to ensure that their staff are clear of the protocols. Otherwise, the bus driver could have been more accommodating and treated the family with compassion.