(BEST buses of Mumbai are washed everyday before pressing into service in the early morning. As we know Mumbai never sleeps, buses ply whole night except 2AM to 4AM when buses are washed, cleaned and serviced for next day)
Two days back, while driving towards Park Circus bridge No. 4, from Science city, a very uncommon scene (for Kolkata) noticed while waiting for Green signal at the traffic. A Bus conductor, on the other side of the road, caught a youngster’s collar and dragging him to his Bus standing in the traffic. Understood the youngster ran away without buying a ticket which is very common in Kolkata specially in some areas. The youngster was trying to escape the clutch of the conductor but being the conductor tall and heavily built he could not and from his body language it seemed he was arguing why he was being dragged by his collar. Conductor did not bother to his all sort of shouting and force to get free from his clutch. Finally the conductor collected requisite fare from the boy and then he freed him.
This was a good scene to see and realized that Kolkata bus conductors are becoming more dutiful and responsible towards their owner (whether it is Government, or some person). This is the tactics which is applied by Mumbai BEST conductors to collect the fares. During my stay in Mumbai (from 1997-2003) I was very much impressed with whole transport system there including Train services. There every thing is systematic and disciplined. There are checking at the end of each route of the buses. In between checks also carried out in the bus without stopping the bus. At the end of route, while getting down from the bus, you will be welcomed by two ticket checkers at two gates. Anybody is caught without Ticket here, will be fined Rs. 100. So everybody try to hurry up to take ticket before the end of journey. In Mumbai, only one conductor manages the whole bus. Anybody is standing at a far distance from him, the ‘fare’ will be passed on by passengers upto the conductor and the ticket and change if any, will also follow the same path to reach to the ticket buyer. Nobody minds for this and everybody co-operates. In-spite of all this, there are persons sometimes try to travel WT. If such persons are caught or somebody argues about the fare in the bus (what we experience in Kolkata, every now and then), he will be manhandled by the conductor and collect the fare. Nobody will oppose to the conductor’s behavior because he is discharging his duties and he has to be rough and tough if anybody does not want to pay the requisite fare. BEST drivers, conductors are disciplined and dedicated to their department, that’s how the buses are so well maintained and making profits.
I congratulate the conductor for being such rough and tough with that passenger who did not pay the fare and trying to ran away and on the contrary he was trying to say that why he was being treated like that. I would be happy if all conductor of Kolkata turn to be such dutiful and responsible to his departments/ owners and bring back some discipline in running the buses instead of racing each other and taking lives of the passengers on board.