Car driver’s ‘thuggish’ actions against SBS bus driver lead to public nuisance charge

SINGAPORE: A 42-year-old man who disrupted a bus service, shouted vulgarities at the driver and threw the driver’s mobile phone on the road was charged on Saturday (Nov 5) with causing public nuisance.

Close to midnight on Oct 31, a car driven by the man – named as Teo Kian Chin in court documents – obstructed the path of an SBS Transit Service 4 bus trying to drive off from a bus stop along Flora Drive, said the operator’s vice-president of customer experience and communications Grace Wu.

A video of the incident was posted on the Facebook page. It showed Teo’s vehicle – a black Mercedes – blocking the bus at the bus stop.

Ms Wu said the bus driver had alerted Teo by sounding the bus horn, but he did not move off.

Instead, Teo came out of his vehicle, shouted at the bus driver and banged against the side of the bus.

He then verbally abused the bus captain before driving off, stopping a short distance away.

Teo then returned to the bus, activated the emergency door button on the bus exterior and boarded it, said Ms Wu.

He shouted at the bus driver again and “forcefully grabbed hold” of the mobile phone the driver was using, she added.

“A lady, who could have been a passenger on the car and seemed to know the man, boarded the bus and managed to coax him to alight.”

While walking back to his car, Teo then threw the bus driver’s mobile phone onto the road. The woman picked it up and returned it to the bus driver.

Court documents showed that Teo was charged for causing annoyance to the public by shouting loudly, hurling vulgarities and causing a disruption to a bus service.

Ms Wu said SBS Transit takes this incident “very seriously” as its bus driver “was just doing his job in providing an essential service”.

“We do not tolerate acts of harassment, intimidation and verbal abuse … and have since filed a police report against the car driver,” she added.

“(We) will fully back any staff who wishes to defend their rights beyond the criminal justice system and file for civil action.

“This means helping victimised staff navigate the legal system, including appointing representation as well as undertaking the costs.”

In a Facebook post on Sunday, National Trades Union Congress assistant secretary-general and the National Transport Workers’ Union (NTWU) executive secretary Melvin Yong called Teo’s actions “thuggish and unreasonable”.

He also noted that under the Highway Code, vehicles are not allowed to park at bus stops.

If convicted, Teo could be fined up to S$2,000. He was remanded on Saturday, with bail set at S$5,000, and will return to court on Dec 2.