Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 08/09/17

No Change

As I look forward to a fortnight's escape from the pickle factory after an arduous July and August, and the prospect of some therapeutic minor plastering and possibly some emulsion work, my last journey in to work this morning highlighted a deep-seated annoyance which I've felt for some time.

In short, it's those ill-mannered people amongst my fellow passengers who think that buses are mobile banks. Not for them the thought that it might be better - or at least considerate - to make sure they have the correct fare before they get on. But no, on they pile, waving 10 notes at the driver, and then have the sheer bloody gall to look mortally offended when said Jehu tells them that he hasn't got change for it.

This morning was particularly bad. Consider the following facts:

We endured one fat, bearded herbert getting on and trying to pay for a day ticket with a tenner. A couple of stops further on, some gabby woman tried to buy a single in the same way.

Actually, the herbert had a sell (as we say in these parts), because when challenged by the driver, he dug embarrassedly around in his purse and found that he did have the right money after all. Well he might know that, because he does the same thing nearly every day. I chuckled inwardly at his temporary come-uppance.

Ignorance (in the sense of not knowing) cannot be pleaded by most of the people who do this, because I see them regularly on the same bus and at the same time of day (the driver's first run of the day, too); and ignorance (in the sense of not caring) is no valid excuse in any set of circumstances.

And yet these twerps still do it, daily mistaking an Arriva Optare Solo or Alexander Dennis Enviro200 for a travelling bureau de change. I mean, how lacking in basic foresight would one have to be not to make sure that you had at least approximately the right amount ready (say, a fiver for the day ticket, or three quid for the single)? It's not exactly Brexit negotiations, is it? Even if, on a rare occasion, I don't have the exact sum, I do try to make sure that what I tender (there's a word you don't see much of in the context nowadays) will cause the minimum of inconvenience. But then, I was brought up properly.

My sympathies lie entirely with the drivers in this, and with me and my fellow passengers (sorry, 'customers') who do make the effort, if only out of a desire to minimise the potential for embarrassment. This latter is certainly my primary motivation for putting the requisite amount aside the night before, but it's not the sole one. It gets approval from people you need to stay on the right side of. I well remember one time when the price of the weekly ticket had gone up, and the very first morning after the 'revision' (as Arriva always calls fare rises) I got on with the right money. "Ah!", exclaimed the driver with a broad smile, "Someone who's read the notice!" (these had been plastered up on the inside of the buses for a couple of weeks beforehand).

It's only courtesy, isn't it? It doesn't cost anything more, and it reduces conflict in the world at a time when needless needle is rampant.