Mind your manners on the move!

One traffic laden evening, I was going by bus from Sultanpalya to R.T. Nagar. I told the approaching conductor that I had a pass. He insisted on seeing it- and rightly so. But my lapse spawned a few harrowing minutes!

It’s easy to forget courtesy in a crush. Pic: Salonie rego

The conductor stared at my dilapidated year-old pass for a long time before showing it to the driver. Both exchanged sniggers and continued staring. Wild thoughts floated in my head. “Has my pass expired? Will I be kicked off? Will they arrest me?” While I was going crazy with worry, the conductor returned my pass- mocking me for the unrecognisable photo before the entire bus.

I’ll grant the man was bored and correct in his vigilance. A few minutes later he attacked another passenger. But I felt unnecessarily humiliated and I could feel him enjoying it!

Sometime back, a woman was almost kicked off a bus. Her crime? Not having change.  On failing to produce Rs 2, the conductor had the driver stop the bus and refused to let it move till she got off. It was eight pm and the woman pleaded not to be left in an unfamiliar and unsafe place. It was only after some passers-by noticed her plight and gave her the change that the bus finally left.

While such behaviour is uncalled for, passengers are not entirely innocent. The conductor was probably frustrated at yet another person- after a hundred others- handing over a large denomination note and requesting for change. After all, they do deal with plenty of travelers and it is impossible to give them all change.

Most people are pleasant to travel with- including the personnel- but there are a few wolves present. “We are a rude bunch at the end of the day.” explains Aishwarya Kirit, 18, a college student and a regular commuter. “We’re tired and frustrated,” she says.

Scenes at bus-stands like Shivajinagar are evidence: people rushing for the doors even before the bus stops, pushing and pulling at each other to get in first and grab seats. Even pushing people out of them!

One thing that really irks commuters is loud cell-phone conversations. Another is music played on cell phones. “People playing music are the worst! One person plays Tamil and the other plays Kannada!” says George Rodricks, General Manager of an automobile company who commutes between RT Nagar and JC Road. This is why the BMTC has now issued a notice allowing conductors to evict passengers disturbing the peace.

Then there’s the seating arrangement in buses. More often than not the men occupy seats in the ladies section! “They take pleasure sitting in the ladies’ place. They are happy to be there.” rues Sr. Doris who commutes to her work in a hospital every day . Funnily enough, ‘gentlemen’ do mind when a lady takes a seat on their side of the bus.

On the bizarre side, some commuters come in drunk. “I had this alcoholic waiting for a drink and at every signal or stop he would complain loudly about how pathetic Bangalore is!” says Aishwarya. It’s more disgusting when gentlemen put their hands on the wrong place- especially in a crowded bus.

Conductors Rule the Roost inside the bus. Pic: Salonie Rego

What’s the solution then? Obviously strict penalties. But before that people should be aware of the rules. “Instructions should be placed all over.” says Rodricks. “People might not even know that they are inconveniencing others.”

Having more buses- and less crowding of present ones is also a good idea.

The best solution though? Passengers should stand up for themselves, instead of letting nuisances go unchecked. When it is absolutely clear that misbehaviour will not be tolerated, it is sure to stop.

Manners in Motion – A few pointers for commuters.

 

  • If you have a back-pack and you are standing, give it to someone seated, or else put it down. This saves space for another person to stand.
  • Keep your passes or cash ready for the conductor. If you use a pass, do not assume the conductor to just accept you have a pass, but show it to him. Some conductors insist on seeing the pass, some go further and examine it. Most however, do not bother to check.
  • Be considerate of fellow passengers- when sitting, do not spread your legs. This prevents the other person from sitting properly. When standing hold on to just one pole, or hand-rail.
  • Do give up your seat to a senior citizen or someone with a child- even if he is a man.
  • When you board a bus, allow passengers to alight first.
  • This might seem insulting, but it is important – dress hygienically and maintain a decent body odour on the bus. Nobody likes the smell of sweat, or alcohol or cigarette smoke- especially on a crowded bus!

Other than that, have a good trip.

6 Comments

  1. Well majorly its people mentality-though as a commuter me see 4 conducotrs per day, conductors see 100’s and 1000’s of passengers a day-a job of conductor is not too easy having to deal with so many people-If people spend a thought for him 1/2 the problems solved

    Bus doesnt stop at stop dont shout at conductor-just shout hold on and the bsu generally stops-or soemtimes even a bang on ceiling helps

    When you need change, 1st give change and take your ticket-then as bus nears destination give him the note and ask him for change with please and a smile-you are sure to get change in denominations of Rs.10/-

    If no change then have the coins-for Rs.12 ticket hand over the Rs.100 with Rs.2 with it-conductor then will acknowledge that you dont have change and he will pay you the amount without hesistation(Also any 10’s in your purse will go unnoticed-he will definitely yell if you have 10’s but hand over 100’s as he is also a common man)
    Dont stand at the door but move inside-generally even most overcrowded buses also have good amount of space inside but peope tend to stay at the door-move inside will clear congestions

    PS: Travelling by BMTC for past 12 years never ever faced a problem with conductor-also generally on my route I am dropped or picked up by merely walking on the road-generally the bus stops seeing me or my mom walking towards the bus stop

  2. This things happens with most of the people who travel in BMTC i guess.
    Whenever i have this type of problems with the conductor i just call the BMTC customer care[08022489005] and blast them and they inturn take blast the conductors and note there Id no.
    But i am not sure how this menance in bangalore will be stopped.Really worst manner this conductors behave,Sometime i think am i travelling free of cost in there bus ?

  3. Whenever I say it is Indian mentality in not showing any courtsey or ethical behaviour to fellow passengers, many object use of that word as though I am not an Indian. Those are the ones go by their own cars and not travel by buses.
    Occupying seats reserved for ladies and senior citizens, some do not vacate the seats for them. I doubt their education which has not taught them manners and behaviour in public. For saving from the rising prices of petrol, we have left with no other option except to be manhandled by irresponsible fellow passengers.

  4. Whenever I say it is Indian mentality in not showing any courtsey or ethical behaviour to fellow passengers, many object use of that word as though I am not an Indian. Those are the ones go by their own cars and not travel by buses.
    Occupying seats reserved for ladies and senior citizens, some do not vacate the seats for them. I doubt their education which has not taught them manners and behaviour in public. For saving from the rising prices of petrol, we have left with no other option except to be manhandled by irresponsible fellow passengers.

  5. good post. I do agree fully with the “If you have a back-pack and you are standing…”. I travel from Banashankari to Marathahalli on volvo and I see most IT professionals prefer to hang their laptop back-packs on their back and they find it really cool to hit others and move around.Its probably because they believe letting go of the laptop would mean someone stealing it.I wish people change for the better, whether you are a B.E or a M.S or a manager.

  6. Nice one!
    Most of the time, traveling in BMTC is not a pleasant experience. It gets progressively worse as the ticket rate decreases across bus services. Volvos are more or less decent, but even there I’ve ended up dealing with a conductors who even threatened a commuter – “Its not difficult to track you down”. (No kidding or exaggeration here). But you are also likely to come across the more pleasant ones willing to have a conversation when the bus is not crowded, or even not reacting to angry commuters at the end of the day.

    For most things, there is this website: http://bmtcinfo.com/site/BSComplaints.jsp
    Remember to note down the bus route number, license plate number and the time, place and direction (like going from Silk route towards Banashankari). And yes, you do get a response within 24 hours saying that crew member was identified and action taken. (Not sure if they really do though :))

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