It was the second time that a bus driver was yelling at me for trying to use a pass from the old booklet. I calmly (or perhaps stupidly) stood near the door, groping through my wallet for some magical change that would appease the driver’s anger of me not having 50 cents.
I had purchased the booklet in early July for $15—in an attempt to hedge my bets against the increased fare from $1.50 to $2. And for two months afterwards, I dutifully used my booklet thinking that I wouldn’t have to pay extra (like the forever stamps). The bus drivers never complained.
In fact, I didn’t think they cared.
For the last few years I lived in city (even though most of those years were when I had the San Francisco Fast Pass), I experienced the great apathy all the bus drivers seem to have. People would stumble into the bus in the back door—perhaps they had the pass or a transfer. But I could tell when someone was trying to hitch a free ride. Or most often especially in the projects (in fact, the 48 route that I was riding today), the bus driver may see fellow African American (I am not trying to stereotype here) and wave him on. Or more so, someone would request a free ride and the driver would him on. Or other times, the driver wouldn’t even look at people getting on the bus, having stuck the transfers right where money went in.
And moreover, what about the transfers that get passed around right in front of the driver? Or the fact that the transfers actually last more than the allotted time of 90 minutes. Even to the case when Chris asked how long the transfer lasted and the bus driver asked him how long he needed for…Chris showed me his all-day transfer later. It was befuddling.
And today, when bus driver started yelling at me. Almost accusing me of being guilty and performing underhanded tricks. I had reached for the pass to take it back…and to put in two whole one dollar bills. He was telling me to back off, to stop reaching for the transfer. In some way, I felt a bit of satisfaction that the bus drivers were paying attention and trying to get people to pay the fare. Finally.