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That’s Not Fare

, , , , , | Working | February 3, 2023

I want to meet my partner downtown. My plan is to take the bus, and I’ve already bought a ticket. I’m waiting at the bus stop along with some other folks. The bus is already running late when it finally arrives. The ones waiting to enter the bus are quietly sorting out who goes first, putting on their masks — the usual thing.

Bus Driver: *Yelling* “Get in already!”

Okay, I get the mood, but okay. He’s probably annoyed himself that he’s running late. A man goes first, and I’m second to pass by the bus driver to show or buy a ticket. The man in front of me still has to buy a ticket.

He hands a 50€ note to the bus driver.

Traveler: “Ulm!”

Bus Driver: *Angrily* “You can’t pay with a 50€ note! Do you have anything smaller?”

Traveler: *Looking confused* “Ulm!”

Apparently, the man doesn’t speak German at all. Still angry, the driver points to the door.

Bus Driver: “Get out! You can’t ride on this bus, then!”

The other traveler moves toward the door and my alarm bells of injustice start to ring when I jump in.

Me: *To the other traveler* “Hold on. I’ll pay for the ticket for you.” *To the bus driver* “I’m gonna pay for his ticket. How much is it?”

Bus Driver: “3,10€.”

Me: *Starting to collect coins* “Why did you want to kick him out? He has enough money for the ticket.”

Bus Driver: *Unfriendly* “I can’t accept 50€ notes!”

I’m getting angry, as well.

Me: “So, why didn’t you explain that in a friendly way? He doesn’t understand what’s going on! Here you go.”

I try to hand over the coins.

Bus Driver: *Furious* “Get out! Both of you!”

Me: *Totally shocked* “What?! I just asked you to be more friendly, and by the way, I have a ticket already!”

Bus Driver: “I don’t care! Get out! Both of you!”

So, the other man and I left the bus. We looked at each other, shaking our heads. In the end, my partner picked me up at the bus stop, and we gave the other guy a lift downtown. My complaint is still unanswered.

The Bus Driver Busted, But He Fixed It

, , , , , , , | Working | January 26, 2023

I have been taking a rural bus service for a few weeks to help out a friend who has had surgery. I live in town and catch the bus at a mall a couple of blocks from my house.

One day, I get on the bus, sit down, and notice a sign at the front saying that the service schedule has changed. When I get off the bus, I ask the driver if he will be coming back to where he can pick me up at the usual time. The place where he stops is about a ten-minute walk from my friend’s place.

Driver: *Absently* “Oh, sure, yeah.”

Later that day, I’m waiting at the stop. And waiting. And waiting. I forgot my phone at home today and don’t wear a watch, so I’m not sure how late it’s getting.

I’m just about to walk back to my friend’s place, where at least my husband can pick me up when he gets off work. A pick-up truck pulls onto the side road where I wait, and the driver beckons to me. To my surprise, it’s the bus driver.

Driver: “I zoned out earlier when you asked me about the schedule changes, and I forgot to tell you that I’d be coming by here half an hour earlier. I felt so bad that when I finished my shift, I decided to come back and see if you were still waiting here.”

He would have dropped me off at my doorstep, but I had shopping to do for supper, so I got him to set me down at the mall. That’s the nice thing about small towns; we look out for each other.

Perils Of The Night Tube

, , , , , , , , , | Right | January 19, 2023

It’s about 3:00 am, and I am on a night tube (metro) train home. I have been working a long weekend shift, but everyone else is out partying, so I think the train driver and I are the only ones on the train not drunk.

I hear the train driver say the following over the speakers for about a minute.

Train Driver: “Doors are closing. Please stand away from the closing doors.”

Train Driver: “I said the doors are closing! The doors will not close if you are in the way.”

I look around to check my carriage, but no one is blocking the doors; it must be a passenger somewhere else on the train.

Train Driver: “The train can’t move unless you move away from the doors.”

The doors finally close.

Train Driver: “Thank you to the passenger that pushed them out of the train.”

Maybe He’s Just Really Antisocial

, , , | Right | December 7, 2022

This is a bizarre experience from the world of the Swedish so-called “färdtjänsten” — a municipal transportation service for citizens who, for one reason or another, are unable to use public transport.

A citizen calls from Casualty (that’s “the emergency room” to our trans-Atlantic friends) and wants to book a so-called healthcare journey back home — basically, an ordinary taxi ride, except the municipality bears all the costs.

Me: “No problem, sir. Could I please have your healthcare travel card number?”

Citizen: “I don’t have one of those.”

Me: “No worries. In that case, I’ll just need you to ask the staff to issue a one-time paper ticket and call us back, and we’ll be able to book your journey on a generic card number that we have for situations like these.”

Citizen: “No, I can’t be a**ed wasting time on that. I just want to get home!”

Right-o…

Me: “Do you perhaps have a permit for regular transportation service? If yes, we can book the trip on that number, instead. You’ll have to cover some of the costs yourself, but it’ll still be cheaper than your ordinary taxi ride.”

Citizen: “Nah, don’t have one of those, either.”

I was now officially out of options, but I kept my composure and explained to the gentleman, as diplomatically as circumstances allowed, that if he didn’t want to ask the staff to print a one-time ticket and call us back, and he didn’t have a permit for regular transport service, then he’d have to book an ordinary taxi and pay full price for the ride out of his own pocket.

The gentleman opted for this solution. In other words, he’d rather squander correspondingly fifteen to twenty USD instead of waiting five minutes for “Sister Agnes” to print said ticket for said journey. 

Okay, his money, his problem, but c’mon… how impatient can a person get?

Mind Your Own Bus-iness

, , , , , | Right | December 5, 2022

When I joined the company I currently work for back in 2009, I was located in a store an hour and a half away from my hometown by bus. This story takes place on the bus coming home. My friend and I had been working a long day in the store — ten hours each — and we got on the 20:30 bus home. Around twenty minutes into the journey, a young man boarded and stood and talked to the driver, who he seemed to know well. 

This didn’t bother any of the passengers already on board until we got to the next town over. There, a couple in their late sixties boarded and sat down on the lower deck. (We have double-decker buses in the UK.) About five minutes after they boarded, I could hear them moaning about the young man talking with the driver. They then started to loudly make their opinion on the matter known to anyone within earshot. 

It went on and on and on, constant complaining and crowing about how the young man should behave like a proper passenger. No one else was bothered by it at all. Eventually, we arrived at the main bus station in the town before my home town. The older couple began to get off, but not before they berated the driver for a solid ten minutes.

At this point, the rest of us were tired and just wanted to get home. I was about to stand up and say something when a middle-aged man stood up and walked over to them.

Man: “Look. We are all tired and stressed after a long day at work. Leave these men alone and p*** off before I shove my umbrella somewhere.”

The older couple looked at him and then got off the bus to cheers from the other passengers.