My niece travels by bus, and she shared this incident with me a few weeks back.
While getting back from work, she was seated in the front of the bus. When the bus stopped at a signal in a queue behind other buses, she noticed an elderly man peering at the route number of a bus ahead of them. He then requested the driver to open the door so that he could get down and move to the other bus. She reckoned that it must be taking him closer to his destination than the bus that she was on. After grumbling a bit, the driver did open the door and allowed the elderly man to alight from the bus. Thereafter, the following conversation took place in Kannada, but written in English here:
Driver to conductor: There he goes trying to get into that bus. That driver will not open the door, you watch.
Conductor: Why? What is the issue?
Driver: Arrey, he got fined just yesterday by the b#$8& checking squad fellows for stopping the bus before the bus stand, and allowing a lady to board the bus.
Conductor: Oh, OK, Yeah, in that case the old man will try to come back to our bus.
Driver: Yeah, let him come back. I will not open the door then!
Conductor: Good good. Yeah, why should you take a chance and get fined? Also, it will teach him a lesson! Trying to change buses at a signal.
The driver was right. The driver of the bus ahead indeed did not open the door. Dissapointed, the elderly man came back to my niece’s bus and requested from outside to the driver to open the door. The driver acted busy talking to the conductor, as if not aware of this request. The signal lights turned green, and traffic began moving once again. To add insult to injury, once the bus started moving, though slowly, the driver opened the door and gestured the old man to board. He did not. He could not. The bus moved on leaving the elderly man behind.
Are you disgusted by the attitude of the BMTC drivers and conductor? Most of us would be. As was my niece. Was I? Initially, a strong yes, but on reflection, I was not so strong about it.
Let me explain. Someone in BMTC is sitting and writing some rules. Like it or not, the driver and conductor are expected to follow it. If they do not, they can expect to be fined. So, if the rule says, passengers can alight anywhere, but board the bus only at the bus stop, both drivers were correct in not opening the door for the elderly man at the traffic lights.
What do you say? What behaviour would you want to see as a passenger? What if you were a passenger in a bus at a signal behind the bus of which the driver is happily picking up passengers instead of moving ahead?