It’s been a long while since I last wrote something here, and for me to write something here today means that it’s going to be quite a scoop. I was on a particular bus heading to a particular school listening to a particular song that I particularly liked. Halfway through the journey, the bus stopped in the middle of the road – quite literally – and I thought I heard the bus driver ask "wo ying gai zhou zhi ma?" ("should I be going straight?").

Before I actually got to think about it, the bus started moving in the the right direction and I presumed that I could just be hearing things. However, my speculations were proven right. The bus driver missed a turn and continued to drive straight. That was when a commuter went up to the bus driver, presumably to let him know that he was on the wrong route.

I guess that didn’t help more than just making the bus driver panic because as he was driving, he was mumbling "oh no! oh no!". Seeing that no one on the bus bothered, I went up to him to guide him back to the correct route. I am not sure, but I think this would have gotten some strange stares from commuters waiting for their buses at the bus stops that the bus driver passed.

So, what does this episode say? Well, it does spell a lot of things. First, Singaporeans might not be much of a helpful bunch of people. Or rather, most didn’t seem bothered that they were on the wrong route. I am just speculating that they might just consider complaining if the bus driver did continue on the wrong journey.

Second, I think there is a serious lapse in the training of the bus driver. I learnt that it was his first day of work and that he wasn’t entirely familiar with the route. In fact, he seemed a little surprised when I told him that the route will lead him back to a particular bus interchange. In addition to this, he was a foreign talent and I can’t really blame him on his mistake. If there’s anyone that I can point a finger to, it’d be the bus company. Surely all the price hikes that they have implemented could go into better training of their bus captains, couldn’t it? I definitely didn’t remember that all other commuters have to sign up as co-pilots.

Taking with a pinch of salt, I kind of suspect why I had been getting 45 minutes interval between buses. You see, it would have added another 10 minutes if I were to guide the bus driver back to the point of the route where he made the wrong turn… so I took the liberty to guide him back to the route but missing 1 bus stop. Well, the bus stop that was missed is usually empty with almost no one alighting at it. Moreover, the bus stop was so near the junction where the driver forgot to make a turn that anyone wanting to alight at that bus stop would have pressed the bell.

What I could have done better was to alert the bus driver when he showed signs of stray. However, I would have to choose between the lesser of the 2 evils – getting him to make an illegal left turn (because he missed a slip road to the left) or did what I did…

So, if your kids/students/other half tells you that the bus driver lost his way, it might just probably be true. =)

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