Protective screens for bus drivers were previously trialled on Public buses to protect Bus Captains from harm.
The 6-month trial by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) commenced on Saturday, 13 January 2018, with an initial 8 buses plying the roads. A further 8 buses with protective screens installed eventually commence passenger service trials in February 2018.
The protective screens are made of impact-resistant plastic and retrofitted onto existing buses. The authorities hoped that the additional protection for Bus Captains would deter assaults and potential hijacks.
The possibility of trialling bus protective screens was first raised in Parliament in November 2017. The 6-month trial, which materialised in 2018, intended to test the effectiveness and feasibility of the protective screens.
A total of sixteen buses were installed with the screens: four buses each for each of the 4 public bus operators (SBS Transit, SMRT Buses, Tower Transit & Go-Ahead Singapore). While the SMRT Buses & Tower Transit buses were retrofitted by January 2018, the SBS Transit & Go-Ahead Singapore buses were retrofitted later, by February 2018.
Part of the trial includes gathering feedback from commuters and bus captains on the screens, which have attracted complaints in other countries relating to their “blinding glare”.
Assaults on bus captains are uncommon in Singapore but not unheard of. In December 2016, three bus captains – one driving service 93 and two others driving service 129 – were physically assaulted in separate incidents by a Chinese male commuter who had boarded their buses along Bartley Road.
Although the trial was slated to last for 6 months, the Protective Shields on board Tower Transit buses were not removed until late December 2018.
The protective screens are made of transparent impact-resistant plastic and offer close to full isolation of the driver’s cab from the passenger compartment. Owing to the placement of the fare collection box within the driver’s compartment, a small window is cut out of the protective screen for commuters to reach into the farebox when paying cash fares. The door, which allows Bus Captains in and out of the driver’s cab, can be opened from the passenger side only with a key.
Places that have adopted protective screens for bus drivers include London in the United Kingdom and Victoria in Australia. Many bus manufacturers offer partial or full protective screens for their driver cabs.
Protective Screens on other buses
Prior to the announcement of the protective screen trial in Parliament, new Yutong buses procured for the Changi Airport Terminal 4 – Terminal 2 Shuttle Buses were delivered with protective screens (as opposed to being retrofitted onto existing buses). Operated by Woodlands Transport, these buses commenced passenger service back in October 2017.
Launch of Trial by Melvin Yong
On the night of Friday, 12 January 2018, Tanjong Pagar Member of Parliament Melvin Yong visited SMRT Buses’ Woodlands Bus Depot to view the protective screen on board SG5816T, a MAN A95 bus, prior to the commencement of revenue service.
Buses Installed with Protective Screen
The protective screens are installed on a mix of bus models operating on selected services.
While the trial mentioned that 16 buses across 4 bus service operators would have the shield installed, only 12 buses were eventually spotted with the shield.
SG1174M had its driver protective shield reinstalled in June 2018 with a modified design.
|Operator||Registration No.||Bus Model||Service|
|Go-Ahead Singapore||SG1062C||Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro||3|
|SG1193H||Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro||–|
|SBS Transit||SG1173R||Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro||269|
|SG1174M||Mercedes-Benz O530 Citaro||70/M|
|SMRT Buses||SG5814Z||MAN A95||951E|
|Tower Transit||SMB3071K||MAN A22||945|
A new design of protective screen was unveiled in June 2018. The previous design had a plastic panel where the metal bars are presently installed, which resulted in strong reflections affecting the Bus Captain’s field of view.
- 16 public buses to have protective screens for drivers in six-month trial – Today Online
- Buses with protective screens on trial for 6 months – The Straits Times