Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Incident On The Bus This Morning

It was looking like another uneventful trip on the bus this morning. That is, until Jason boarded the bus. From my seat I could see that he was a mid-twenties, bare-footed slob who probably didn't have a job. Not that I'm quick to judge people. No, not me. I'm just a bigot. And an opinionated one at that.

Jason told the bus driver, who was expecting payment, that his Smartrider card had been taken by a machine in Armadale and that he wouldn't be paying. The bus driver insisted on receiving payment. Jason told him that he had recharged his card but that the machine had eaten it and that he should call the Armadale station because they knew about it.

The bus driver radioed base but, of course, the new Smartrider cards don't get eaten by recharging machines and he couldn't talk directly to the station anyway. Jason had to pay. He refused to pay and he refused to get off. The driver went to the next stop but on the way a lady stood up and showed some ID to the driver. She was some sort of transit guard and was on duty but not, apparently, in uniform. She instructed Jason that she was legally requesting that he get off the bus. He was a bit too large for her to push him off but you could see that that was her intention. She instructed the driver to stop, close the doors, call the transit police and await their arrival so that Jason could be arrested.

So, the bus stopped at the next stop. Two buses on the same route went past. People started to get a bit upset as they were going to be late for work. I could have changed buses but I wanted to see this guy get arrested and that would be worth missing 10-15 minutes of work for. I even felt like helping her push him out of the bus but could have been charged with assault should things have gotten out of hand. Besides, the duty officer seemed to have things under control, backup had been called and Jason wasn't being aggressive.

We waited for nearly 10 minutes before the officer convinced him to leave the bus with her and wait at the bus stop until the transit police arrived. She informed him that he would get a criminal record over this offence as he had not left the bus when instructed to which was a legal request.

We didn't get to see an arrest made. The driver refused to stop at any more stops on the way to the city, and you should have seen some of the looks that he received from people wanting to catch the bus, so that he could make up time. I was about five minutes later than usual but still not late for work. Pretty much all of the passengers were supportive of the action taken but a little put-out by the fact that they would be late for work.

The simple thing to do would be to buy a single journey ticket but if what Jason explained was true then he has some right to feel aggrieved. He also pointed out that some people are on a budget and, apart from the milk drink in his hand, he didn't appear to have two bob to rub together.

Perhaps there are still a few bugs to iron out in the Smartrider system. But it was nice to see the transit police system in operation and this young man be taught a lesson. Perhaps it is a bit harsh if it leads to a criminal conviction as he does appear to have a grievance.


Susan Ham said...

I'm just glad I don't have to commute to work etc. I can live without this kind of 'excitement'!

Anonymous said...

So what lesson did this guy learn mate? Jesus, you really are a dill.