No longer can you ride my bus without paying… HA!
I used to be a big push-over when people said they didn’t have any money, saying, “yeah, just bring double next time.” I finally learned to put my foot down. I was driving Green route and had 4 kids try to get on at the high school. They were going to the mall, an entire 4 blocks away. The first girl, who was obviously with the group, drops in 50 cents. The next person suddenly gets this dumb look on his face and says “oh, you have to pay at this stop?” Yup. It’s not a bad day outside; you can walk to the mall if you don’t have any money on you. I’ll even give the girl a refund for the 50 cents. They begged for awhile and I kept shaking my head. One tried to walk on my bus and I put up my hand and said, “no,” or something super-authoritative like that. Then one of them looks in his wallet and pulls out a dollar bill. I said, “well that will cover two of you.” More pleading, more staring them down. They finally got off my bus after swearing at me several times.
I was pretty proud of myself. On one hand.. yes, the bus follows a certain route and might as well carry people around rather than drive around empty. On the other hand. I had at least two people on my bus who had paid up the full four-quarters fare, and even if it weren’t theft to ride the bus without paying, it’s not fair to the other people who did just drop money in the farebox.
Several things going through my head that made me feel like I was not treating them unfairly:
1) They were going to the mall…. and they don’t have money? A likely story…
2) They obviously knew they had to pay… well, at least one did. And the fact that they pulled out money after I said they couldn’t ride meant that they were trying to get a free-ride anyway.
3) The mall was FOUR blocks away! That’s like walking from class to class! And it wasn’t even very cold outside!
4) You don’t fill up your gas tank and tell the cashier you’ll pay next time. No different than trying to ride the bus for free. (I’m trying to come up with a better analogy than that one… any ideas?)
I did have a nice, supportive conversation with one of my passengers afterwards. At least I didn’t feel like an incredibly mean person.
I’m really glad I’m mainly driving orange and cardinal (free routes) this year, so I don’t have to deal with this regularly. I wouldn’t want to become cold-hearted or anything. But I won’t be a softie anymore with what is technically an illegal act.