By Bianca Teo

Come rain or shine, shuttle buses are a common sight on the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Campus. At any one time, there are 24 shuttle buses on the road, ferrying patients, visitors and staff to the various SingHealth institutions. 

For more than four years, Feroz Bin Abdul Rahman has been a shuttle bus driver with SingHealth. He ferries passengers from Outram MRT station to the SGH Campus. Prior to joining us, he was a building maintenance technician at Raffles City Shopping Centre before he obtained a Heavy Vehicle Class 4 driving licence and switched to his current job.

We speak to Feroz to find out what a typical day is like for our shuttle bus drivers, the encounters he has faced and why he is a deserving winner of the 2014 SGH Service with a Heart Awards.

What’s a typical working day for you?
My day starts really early at 4am. I pick up my shuttle bus from Bishan depot and will reach SGH Campus by 6am. I’ll have breakfast before starting my shift at 7.20am. I work five days a week, each shift lasting 12 hours with two breaks in between.

There are two peak periods when I see more passengers – between 9.30am to 11am and 3pm to 6pm, with a lot more passengers on Mondays and Tuesdays. I usually have my lunch during my second break at about 3pm, when there is a lesser crowd at the cafeterias.

How do you tell between a patient and a visitor?
Patients will usually ask for directions to a particular clinic whereas visitors will ask for directions to the blocks where the wards are located. I make it a point to “study my route” as I’m usually the first person whom passengers turn to for directions to anywhere on campus.

I think it’s not enough to just know the names of the buildings. I also try and remember the clinics and facilities housed within the buildings so I can guide passengers to the places they need to go. If I really do not know the place in question, I will direct them to the concierge at Block 3.

What do you like about your job?
I enjoy interacting with people. I feel happy when my passengers recognise me and say hello. Some of them even give me snacks upon seeing me. There are also passengers who get angry when the wait for the bus was slightly longer due to heavy traffic, but I try to be positive and empathetic because some of these passengers are not feeling well. Moreover, whoever comes on my bus will have to get off the bus eventually. Once I let the passengers off at their destinations, I also let go of any unhappiness that I may have.   

What happens if you need to use the washroom urgently during your shift?
If I urgently need to use the toilet, I will ask the passengers to wait a while for me so I can rush to the nearest toilet. I’ve been “trained” to do so within two minutes flat! (laughs) I also avoid certain food such as bananas, milk and spicy stuff to avoid having the runs. 

In your four years with us, were there any incidents that stood out?
Once I picked up a passenger who was wearing a neck brace. It wasn’t long before I noticed that he was sweating profusely with his face turning red. Turned out he had broken his neck! When I asked him why he did not call for an ambulance or take a taxi directly to the Accident & Emergency Department (A&E), he replied that he had thought he was well enough to make his own way to the hospital. I made a detour to send him to the A&E immediately and made sure that a nursing staff took care of him before resuming my route.

What do you wish for in the New Year?
Besides hoping that my son will do well for his upcoming N-Level examinations, I also wish to stay strong and healthy so I can continue to serve my passengers and ensure that their journeys with us are smooth and safe.

A list of SGH Campus shuttle bus services​ for the convenience of our patients, visitors and staff is available for your reference here.
(List of shuttle bus services for staff opens in Infopedia)