Ticket prices are based on fare stages. A fare stage may be a single bus stop or several sequential stops can be in the same fare stage. As the driver moves along the route they should increment the ticket machine each time they enter a new fare stage. When a passenger gets on and asks for a ticket to ‘x’ the driver taps in the fare stage number for ‘x’ and the ticket machine displays the cost from the curent fare stage to the requested fare stage. This works 99% of the time but just occasionally the driver forgets to update the ticket machine as the bus enters a new fare stage and then quotes the passenger for their destnation from a start point behind the bus. Just like I did this morning and charged £1.70 instead of the correct fare which should have been £1.20 I realised my error when the second boarding passenger asked for the same destination, I corrected the machine and asked for the correct fare which was paid. As I turned toward the passengers to ask for the previous passenger to come and see me the ‘young lady’ rushed up the bus shouting that I’d overcharged her and using language which made Gordon Ramsay’s language sound more like Buckingham Palace tea party language! I asked to her to calm down and said I wanted to explain something – I was trying to say “Sorry, I made a mistake with your ticket”. “I want to cancel your ticket and give you another plus refund the overcharge”. But no, she increased the volume even more. To be frank I lost it :-( When she finally ran out of breath I told her that I’d been intending to apologise and to refund her 50p but now I wouldn’t! “If you want your refund I suggest you visit the bus station and ask for it there, don’t forget to tell them why the driver wouldn’t do it”! At this point I was called a f**** c*** w**** just for starters.
I’m not pleased with myself for doing this but just sometimes I find it impossible to let it all wash over me :-(
The real loser in all of this is not the ‘young lady’, not me, but someone I didn’t mention. The ‘young lady’ had what appeared to be a daughter with her. A little girl of about 4 years who just stood by her Mum and heard the uncouth language come out of Mother’s mouth. How will she grow up? Will she learn/think/assume that’s the way to deal with things? I now regret saying what I did for the child’s sake. I wish I’d just handed over the 50p and said nothing whatsoever.