Day before yesterday night, Mr Ashok the honorable Transport minister of Karnataka had a dream. In the dream he thought he can make moolahs by drastically and irrationally increasing the tariffs in BMTC volvo buses. So he woke up in the midnight and sent a SOS to his officials in the department. Frantic activities started in the night and by morning of 28th April, printouts of the new tariffs were released to all the volvo conductors. Sleepy, confused conductors were surprised (to put it mildly).
The officials forgot that the ticket vending machines are not adopted for this fare change. But quick action was taken and the conductors were given the traditional paper bundle tickets for the day. The officials had done their job. And done it in good secrecy. The press and hence the public were clueless about the hike in fares.
I took the volvo bus in the evening. It was chaos inside the bus. The passenger gives some money, conductor gives ticket and no change back. Passenger argues, scolds the conductor, abuses Yeddi (the honorable CM), conductor has his counter arguments.....and this almost happened with every passenger. Our conductor devised a new strategy. He said to the passengers that the fares are increased from today. He said "I will give you at a discounted price and pulled the tickets out of his bundle at the older price or older price + small delta (still less than the increased fares)".
There were some interesting quotes in the bus from the conductor.
- The frustrated conductor was speaking loudly to the driver. He said "the officers who took the decisions are in ac rooms in the safe zone. We conductors are in the danger zone, getting all the abuses from the passengers." He continued "we are the jawans and the officers are the politicians who take decisions so that the jawan faces war". Lovely words of wisdom!
- One passenger suggested that the conductor gives the phone number of the officers who took the decision on fare hikes. The witty conductor replied "this is govt bus, not your company cab. There are no mobile numbers printed anywhere on the bus". Interestingly I had never noticed this...how true!