Tuesday 10 July 2018

Pick a Side: Bus Fare

Here's an interesting one I ran into a few days ago on the way home.

Bus Driver: Miss? Miss? Yes, you sitting beside the gentleman with the long hair. Are you going to pay your fare? Everyone else tapped on (card system), don't think I didn't notice you when you just walked in and sat down.

Woman: Hi! I have no money and I'm not going to spend three hours walking just to get home. If you single me out and just make us run late, I'm going to report you to your company for not doing your job.

Bus Driver: I -am- doing my job.

Who would you support in this situation?


  1. In the short term, the woman is right. The bus driver will inconvenience everyone else on the bus, probably be unable to move the woman unless he calls in the cops, and his company may very well throw him under the bus (pun intended?) when the woman complains, especially if it makes social media.

    In the long term, the bus driver is right. Civilization is a series of stated and unstated agreements, many of which rely on good faith from both sides in order to make life simpler. You pay for the bus. If a restaurant serves you food, you pay for it at the end of the meal. People not holding up to their end of the bargain frays society. Other people start believing that the bargain no longer applies to them as well. If people are unwilling to enforce the rules, then the current rules stop existing, and generally lead to more restrictive rules that don't rely on good faith as much, but are more inconvenient.

    1. That's an interesting way of looking at it Rohan - that they're both right. Thanks for sharing that. =)

  2. Bus driver is in the right. It’s a social contract. Freeriders getting a pass will encourage others to freeride as well. In this case, literally.

    Though his chosen actions might differ, depending on company policy.

    If the company values customer service and empowers their employees to give gifts/freebies to customers who are still theoretically in the wrong, in order not to make a scene or encourage repeat visits - he could just continue with the free bus ride on compassionate grounds.

    Especially if it’s one-off. Maybe she forgot her wallet or is temporarily hard up that month. If she turns into a regular freerider, (ie. turns up daily to catch a ride without paying), then it’s time to report her and/or get supervisor/company support for enforcement.

    If the company has stressed that enforcing payment is part of the driver’s job and has policies thereof, and will support the driver’s right to do so (or CCTV to monitor lack of action), then by all means stop the bus.

    If the company doesn’t give a shit and is liable to throw him under the bus no matter what he does, then turning a blind eye and pretending not to notice is probably the best option. (Company loses profit, but he keeps his job.)

    1. Thanks Jeromai - I actually asked a different bus driver about this situation and what the company line is. Apparently it is "try get the fare, but if there's much resistance - just get them to take a seat (on the bus)".

      I didn't realize this, but here it's not the driver's main job to get the fare. And certainly not to fight over something that's under 10 bucks.

      Instead there are ticket inspectors who randomly board and check everyone's passes and assign an on the spot fine (in the hundreds) to freeloaders. How that works if said freeloader has no money and no ID to send a bill to, I'm not sure. :P

      On a different note: I'm having issues adding your blog (just yours) to my list again, says I'm not allowed. Is that something on your end or mine? :)