After falling off the stairs of a double-decker bus on the way to a tuition class last month, a 10-year-old boy ended up with injuries on his head.
In response, his mother wrote a complaint to SBS Transit and asked for monetary compensation as she believed it was the bus driver’s fault that her son was injured.
SBS has since responded, and here’s what they have to say.
At around 4.25pm on 12 November, the 10-year-old boy boarded bus 807 at a bus stop near 359 Yishun Ring Road.
According to his mother, Mrs Gao (Hanyu pinyin), her son had boarded the bus to travel to his tuition centre. No empty seats were left on the lower deck of the bus, which prompted her son to climb the stairs up to the upper deck.
However, the bus “started moving suddenly”, causing her son to fall from the stairs.
She then questioned if buses can even start driving when passengers are climbing the stairs.
After her son fell from the stairs, he ended up with a 2.5cm long and 1cm deep gash on his head and was sent to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital afterwards for stitches. He was issued medication and a Medical Certificate as well.
Mother Asked for Compensation for Medical Bills and Loss of Income
After the incident, Mrs Gao claimed that the government-subsidised healthcare fees for her son’s injury cost $183.50 and contacted SBS Transit to ask for compensation.
In particular, she highlighted that her son had been injured due to the driver’s negligence.
She also emphasised that she could not work as a private hire driver for a few days after her son’s injury as she needed to take care of her three children and her husband, who had a stroke. She then expressed her wishes for SBS Transit to compensate her for her loss of income.
To this, SBS responded to queries by saying that they have since gotten in touch with the boy’s mother and have also reviewed Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) footage of the bus during the incident.
According to the footage, the boy started walking up the stairs slowly when the bus started driving off but did not hold onto the railings at the side of the staircase. This caused him to lose his balance and fall off the stairs.
After he fell, the bus driver immediately stopped driving and tended to the boy alongside a few other passengers. The bus driver also contacted the SBS Transit Control Centre while a passenger called for an ambulance.
Hence, SBS Transit could not prove that the injury was caused by the bus driver’s negligence, which meant that they could not compensate Mrs Gao and her son.
SBS also took the opportunity to remind passengers to hold onto the railings and handles included in the bus at all times when standing or climbing the stairs as a safety precaution.
Mrs Gao’s Response
After SBS’s response, Mrs Gao revealed that her son has learnt from his mistake and hopes his experience will remind all passengers to be more careful when taking the bus, especially young children and the elderly.
As for the compensation, Mrs Gao clarified that she has already contacted a social worker for more assistance.
She also shared that she recently underwent minor surgery, making her unable to drive her private hire car and earn money to support her family. Her children, aged 9, 10 and 13, also need to purchase textbooks for the new school year.
Mrs Gao then expressed that the GST Assurance Package recently released by the government will help the family tide over their current situation.
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