Parents say they have little choice but to rely on school buses

For many parents, the school bus is the only option in ensuring their children’s travel to and from school is safe. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): School buses are expensive and can be unreliable but for many parents, it is the only option in ensuring their children’s travel to and from school is safe.

Yaw Xiaohui, 36, was paying Yeap Transport S$219 (RM704) a month to get her six-year-old son Tian Le to St. Stephen’s School in Siglap, where he is a primary one pupil.

On a typical school morning, Tian Le wakes up at 5.40am, gobbles up his breakfast, and rushes down from his home in Eunos with his mother to wait for the bus, which usually arrives at 6.20am. He is the first to be picked up.

He gets to school at 6.40am, almost an hour before class starts at 7.30am.

“We don’t have a car. Public transport to school is also inaccessible for my son. He has to take the MRT and walk for 15 minutes up a hill after that,” said Yaw, who works in the banking industry. Her husband runs a business.

But they had problems with the school bus operator. In one instance, the driver reached the pick-up point almost 45 minutes late.

Although taking public transport may be cheaper, Yaw said that she would want to have “the best arrangement she can afford” for Tian Le, an only child.

“Another benefit of the school bus is certainty. The walk to school is not sheltered. If it rains, I’m not sure if I can get a Grab for him,” she said.

John, who declined to give his full name, said his wife would drive their six-year-old son Caleb to St Stephen’s School.

After dropping him off at 7.15am, the healthcare worker leaves for work.

John, who works as a journalist, said they rely on the school bus to get their son to a student care centre in Hougang after school is dismissed at 1.20pm.

The 40-year-old will then pick him up at 7pm with the family car before they head home together. Until recently, he paid Yeap Transport S$280 (RM900) a month for the bus service.

“We can’t fetch him ourselves (after school) because both of us are working. There are also no available school bus services apart from the ones the school has provided. Other methods like hiring a private chauffeur may also be more expensive,” he said.

John, who also has a four-year-old daughter, added that his son is not ready to take public transport to school.

“Given the distance between the school and our home, Caleb is still too young to take public transport on a long journey. I would say around 13 is a suitable age.

“It is also easier to have someone familiar picking up and dropping off my kid,” said John, who lives about a 30-minute drive from the school.

Both John and Yaw were informed that the school will be engaging a new operator, Liberty, from March 1.

They are both expecting a hike in charges.

John said he is prepared to pay if they are reliable, but added: “I will not pay way above the market rate just for a satisfactory bus service, nor will I accept an unsatisfactory service because it concerns the safety and security of my child.”

Article type: free
User access status:
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Singapore , school bus


Next In Aseanplus News

Amazon deepens tech-sector cuts by slashing another 9,000 jobs
Just smoke and mirrors: Old 'ghost prank' by fireman resurfaces on social media
Credit Suisse, UBS deal: What you need to know
China's Xi arrives in Russia to meet Putin over Ukraine war
Asean News Headlines at 9pm on Monday (Mar 20, 2023)
Vietnam beefs up defence cooperation with Laos and Cambodia
Ringgit ends marginally higher against US dollar
Singapore and Hong Kong seek to calm nerves over Credit Suisse deal
Indonesia's Bali deports 47 in crackdown on tourists misusing visa rules
Thailand’s ‘phanaeng’ beats India’s shahi paneer to top list of best curries in the world

Others Also Read