small things

small things
And there was light

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Ticketless

One of those usual days I left at 7:10 from my office with the hope of my THE bus. While coming out of my office I meet two of my colleagues who were probably going for a smoke outside.... and suddenly one of them says don't wait for us you must be getting late and here I remember ohh yeah my 7:20 AC bus .
Yeah yeah I am a public transport pro and I still travel by Bus, which if I find an AC one is way more comfortable than metro and yes cheaper too.As some of you don't know FYI my office is in ISBT premises.  And there is this nice bus which drops me quite close to my home and yes I do get a seat to sit too.

So anyways coming back to my story  I rush to the place where my Bus comes. and there were two men standing at that place one would be somewhere 30ish and another probably close to 40 both of them lean, looked tired and sweating badly because of the weather. They together came to me and asked if there is a bus to Meerut they can take up. I had to tell sorry the UP and Uttarakhand buses aren't plying from here anymore you both will have to go to Anand Vihar.

And I showed them my beloved red bus which was just parking itself, you can go by this... it seemed they already knew everything and they were just looking for reassurance in whatever they had already heard.

So here we board on the bus I take my usual seat, and one of them, the 40ish sits in the seat front of me. The other one goes to the rear end of the bus.

The bus starts pretty soon unlike other days and since buses have now reduced in ISBT it finds its way out very easily with a very small halt at the check point where the check point guy gives the bus an exit slip. The conductor  half hearted looks into every body's seat and gives a ticket to those who gave the money. the man in front of me was then searching something in his luggage. 
Another guy gets into the bus and starts selling table covers in the top of his voice, I put my earphones and started surfing through the radio channels.

And here the bus takes a round at the cloverleaf of ISBT bridge I see the time on the clock tower it was 7:25 and I think I should be home by 8:10 today 10 mins early than my usual. The bus is now moving in quite high speed, suddenly few passengers ask them to stop at a bus stop and it halts and they get down.

Its not been a whole minute that suddenly it was stopped by  few DTC gentlemen, they were Ticket checkers, every time a bus is stopped by ticket checkers my school time memories get refreshed. Anyways they come to everyone check their tickets, they come to my seat I took off my earphone from one ear and hand them my ticket, and next they ask the man in the front seat for tickets. He very naively takes out a hundred rupee note and asks for a ticket to  Anand Vihar  and wow the checker says OK give another hundred and here is your fine for today you can travel in any bus today with this fine slip. He says I did not notice when the tickets were sold but all in vain the checkers had found their bakra and they were least interested in checking anyone else's ticket.

The man looked poor (he did not look very poor though) and when he took out money from his pocket it must have been around 500 only and its seemed that's all he carried for his journey to Meerut. He looked genuine and when he said he was unaware of when the tickets were sold he looked truthful . He also looked conscious about people looking at him so his paying off fine was rather quick than a long pleading, but he wasn't left on humanitarian grounds. Poor guy I thought first so much of hassle of not finding a bus here and then a 200/- fine . His fare to Meerut wont be 200 rupees probably

 The checkers then moved to the guy selling table covers and he kept on digging into his bag saying I am searching for the ticket, however the checkers just laughed gave a pat on his shoulder and alighted from the the bus, they way they exchanged smiles it seemed they have come across him many a times during their regular schedule. Yes he was poor too and was spared on humanitarian grounds.

But somewhere somethings work, the first guy probably looked not a regular, an easy prey whom they are not going to meet again, whereas the second one was a familiar face. I did not understand the distinction much neither I see any justification in the double standards.

Fact remains those who can be suppressed are suppressed by all.


  1. This happens all the time. Usually when I encounter a person who has come from outside I always request them to go and buy the ticket becuase in 90% cases they are not aware that in Delhi you have to go and buy the the ticket on your own and the conductor doesn't come to your seat to give you the ticket which is the practice in most of the other states.

  2. Though I agree with the double standards part, I do not agree with the suppression of those who can be suppressed thing.
    If the guys there meant to suppress, they would have slapped a fine on the seller as well. After all, the seller had no justification for not having bought a ticket.

    Though you may not agree with me, but the following is my understanding:
    The traveler was actually using the service for commuting, the purpose which the bus service addressed. Hence, he could be expected to be carrying a ticket. However, the seller was not actually trying to commute from one point to another. In fact, if you are a frequent traveler, you must have noticed such peddler salesman boarding the bus on one stop, and getting down at the next, within a small amount of time.
    Of course, the officer could have fined both of them, but think, would it have taught any lesson to the seller? Do you think the seller would have bought a ticket the next time onwards he switched a bus? People like him climb up and down a hundred buses a day, and with their negligible profits, don't have the money to pay for one ride, leave aside a hundred.
    On the other hand, someone who is using the bus service, the passenger who was fined, he must have learned a lesson for sure: Buy the ticket at the earliest, as soon as you board the bus.

    Hmm, it is not a fool-proof philosophy, since the rules were not definitely followed here. The rules say, both should have been fined.
    But think again, what is the significance of a rule, if it doesn't teach you any lesson?

    And as a matter of fact, maybe you felt there was injustice. But try thinking from the point of view of other passengers, did they also think that their was injustice? Did the passenger who was fined ask why is this peddler being spared?

    I guess, the answer is no.
    Though both flouted the rules, yet it is important to remember, that rules don't make humans, humans make rules.
    Do you think, that the rule of fining people was made to fine a peddler everytime he climbed a bus, or do you think it was meant for passengers, who wanted a free ride?

    I know, that my line of reasoning basically extends support/ serves as an encouragement for the peddler, but am sure, even if one of the passengers complained of annoyance/harassment by the peddler, he would have received a harsher treatment than the passenger.

    Finally, think from the point of view of the inspectors. Do you think, that this was the first guy they were fining. No.
    The fact is, many people are fined everyday for travelling without ticket. In fact, on being caught, many of them can present this 'innocent face', that you were referring to. The question is, how genuine do you think it were for the checkers? Did it resemble like one of those people who knowingly do such thing?

    I am sure, you won't have a definite answer for my last question. And that is so, because there is no such definite answer. Because it is about individual perception. If you had been in the checker's place, based on your perception, you might have spared him.

    PS : Sorry for joining the discussion uninvited.

  3. Well if ever you had traveled in buses outside Delhi in India you would always notice that the bus conductor comes to your seat and gives you a ticket. But when people from outside come to Delhi they are clueless about the system here and tend to reluctantly climb on to bus and then reluctantly find a seat and during this if the checker comes and fines him the poor guy is totally clueless as to what to do and ends of getting exploited just for not being aware of such a thing. Its just sad but it is not entirely his fault. The ticket checker could have asked him to purchase a ticket.