BEST conductor insults 63-yr-old for not tendering exact amount

Apr 22, 2015, 07:52 IST | Saurabh Vaktania

The conductor allegedly behaved rudely and asked her to tender the exact amount even though she had given a 10-rupee note for a Rs 7 fare; she alleged that he had a satchel full of coins

Far from taking extra care of senior citizens, some BEST conductors seem bent on ensuring that travelling on buses is an unpleasant experience for them. One such conductor allegedly shouted at and behaved rudely with a 63-year-old woman, who had given him a 10-rupee note for a fare of Rs 7.

Ruhi Khan said that, just last week, she saw another conductor asking a man, in his 70s, to get off the bus because the passenger didn’t have change. Pic/Satyajit Desai
Ruhi Khan said that, just last week, she saw another conductor asking a man, in his 70s, to get off the bus because the passenger didn’t have change. Pic/Satyajit Desai

He wanted her to tender the exact amount even though he had a satchel full of coins. What’s more, when the woman said she would complain to BEST authorities against the conductor, he threatened to lodge a police complaint against her on made-up charges of stealing from his satchel.

Refusing to take the conductor’s behaviour lying down, the woman filed a complaint with the BEST, the hearing for which was held yesterday. She told mid-day that she felt she had to take action because she has witnessed several such instances and, just last week, she saw another conductor asking a septuagenarian man to get off the bus because he didn’t have change.

BEST officials told mid-day that the statements of the woman and the conductor were taken yesterday and assured that action would be taken against the latter.

All for Rs 3
Ruhi Khan (63) is a resident of Deccan Society, Union Park, Bandra (West) and owns a beauty parlour in Tardeo. Speaking to mid-day, she said, “For the last 15 years, I have been travelling from Turner Road in Bandra to the railway station by bus no 211, and from there I take a train to Mumbai Central. This is very convenient for me and saves my time.”

“On March 25, I got into a bus at 9 am and gave a 10-rupee note to the conductor for a ticket to Bandra railway station, the fare for which is Rs 7. The conductor, however, very rudely asked me to give the exact amount,” she added. Khan noticed that the conductor’s satchel was full of coins and asked him why he wasn’t willing to give her change despite that.

“He suddenly became very angry and began accusing me of having touched his money bag. I never touched his bag. It was peak hour and so many passengers were sitting and they can bear witness to this. He again told me not to put my hands into his bag, and I kept wondering why he would even think that I could do something like that. He was extremely rude.”

“By this time, his behaviour and unfounded allegations had made me angry as well, and I told him I would complain against him at the depot, and I was shocked by his reply. He was furious and told me that he would take me to the police station instead for stealing from his satchel. I just could not believe that he could talk to a woman and a senior citizen like that,” said Khan.

The conductor finally gave Khan a ticket and the change and, when the bus reached Bandra station its last stop all the passengers got down, but Khan did not. The conductor asked her to get off the bus, but Khan was determined to lodge a complaint against him.

“All Mumbaikars face similar problems every day. We are fed up with the rude behaviour of conductors and drivers. They drive rashly, don’t stop the bus even at bus stops and are always in a rush. They are government servants and they should behave properly.”

Khan said, “When the bus reached Bandra depot, I went inside the office, filed a complaint in the book and got a duplicate copy of it. I got a letter from the BEST a few days ago that the hearing for my case would be held on Tuesday, April 21.

I want to set an example so that this rogue conductor and others like him don’t behave this way with anyone else. People should come forward and complain. They should not tolerate this kind of nonsense.”

Not the first
The 63-year-old said this is not the first time that she has seen something like this happening. “Last year, too, I had filed a complaint against a driver who did not completely stop the bus at the bus stop and asked me to get on a running bus instead. People should record such things on their camera phones.

I took a photo of the driver. Last week, an old man above 70 years of age gave a 100-rupee note for his ticket. The conductor was so rude he asked the old man to get down. I paid for the man’s ticket and ensured that he did not have to get down.”

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Complaint procedure
BEST PRO Hanuman Gophane said, “The complainant’s statement has been taken and the conductor will be punished.” Outlining the procedure for filing complaints, he said, “Commuters can file complaints at the complaint centre at bus stations and depots. They can also call our helpline 1800-227-550 or email us at”

He added, “Preserving the ticket is very important. The ticket has all the details in it. It has the bus number, route, time, from which we find the conductor and driver of the bus. In Khan’s case, she had preserved the ticket.” The depot has a BEST traffic officer (in blue uniform) at every depot. The commuter has to fill up a complaint form and ensure that the traffic officer gets a copy.

The traffic officer then conducts an inquiry. The complainant is then called for a detailed statement in the BEST court, which is presided over by the traffic officer. Each depot has a BEST court where such complaints are heard. In Khan’s case, her statement and that of the conductor were recorded yesterday. Officials said action will be taken against the conductor.

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