IN FOCUS: They have curious looks and are called ‘uncle’, but young bus drivers say the job has moved on

Mr Naz said the “key takeaway” from working with older, long-serving drivers at SMRT was to see how the industry has progressed over the years.

“Bus drivers were paid below ‘minimum wage’ back then, and knowing how times have changed for the better for most of us, it clearly shows the industry has come a long way. way,” he said.

“There are a lot more opportunities that a bus captain can do, and it’s not just a standard blue-collar job like what has been portrayed by many.”

Public transport operator Tower Transit said it had seen a 64% increase in the number of bus drivers under 30 joining the company since the first quarter of this year, although just over 2% of its drivers belong to this age group. .

“The challenge is that people don’t usually aspire to be a bus captain until they start driving and realize it can be a fulfilling career, they are respected and there are opportunities for career progression,” said Mr. Winston Toh, Managing Director. of Tower Transit Singapore.

Mr Toh, pointing to a perception that all drivers are just driving, said the job had become a “multi-faceted role” that involves interacting with hundreds of people on a daily basis.

“It’s as much a customer service job as it is a driving job, and because the road conditions and human interactions are so dynamic, no two days are alike,” he said. he adds.

“Many of our young bus captains enjoy this drive and a few have even moved into supervisory and management roles.”

CAREER PROGRESSION

Ms Wu of SBS Transit said the operator has introduced a graduated salary model and career progression paths for its bus captains. For example, “good performers” may be promoted to Senior Bus Captains and then Chief Bus Captains.

Drivers can also opt for a management track with non-driver roles, which include leadership and management roles in the operations and management of bus interchanges and depots, bus operations control centers and training .

“In recent years, we have also introduced new working arrangements such as part-time and five-day working week to make it more attractive for job candidates to consider joining the profession,” he said. she declared.

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