At 8.30 pm on the 4th of April, I took the BIAS Vayu Vajra (BIAS 12, to KuVemPu Nagara)nfrom the airport to my home.
On the way, a group of four passengers got on,and asked for tickets. They paid Rs. 60( four tickets of Rs.15 each) , and the conductor said that the tickets would cost Rs.20 each. The young man who was one of the group protested, saying that he had taken the Volvo yesterday and had paid only Rs.15, and he would not pay the higher amount.
The conductor insisted that the amount was correct. The passenger demanded that the conductor show him the chart; if the amount was correct, he said, he would pay the difference.
The conductor refused to show him the chart and asked the group to get off the bus. The passenger, getting increasingly vociferous, said he would not get off without taking a look at the chart.
Within minutes, the young man and the conductor were involved in violent fisticuffs. The driver halted the bus, and came back to intervene. One of the ladies in the group also pulled the young man off the brawl, and the group got off the bus, with invective and bad feeling flying around.
I cannot imagine that the conductor of a Vayu Vajra bus would demand excess fare; after all, he was going to give the ticket to the value of Rs.20, not for Rs.15.
A few passengers said that perhaps the previous day, the young man had, indeed, taken a Volvo, but it might not have been the Vayu Vajra bus, which does have a higer fare. This seems to me to be the likely explanation.
But in this case, why did the conductor not just show the young man the chart, and prove that he was mistaken? That would have defused the situation instead of escalating it into physical violence, which is what transpired.
Why are our tempers so short, that we need to indulge in violence almost immediately? Why does rage prevail instead of more mature behaviour?
Why are we so ready to assume that the other person is out to cheat us? Why can’t we assume goodwill, or at least an honest mistake, and try to sort out the situation, instead of indulging in confrontation, anger and violent behaviour?
No wonder, both bus passengers and bus staff are a harried lot at the end of the day…..