Now, I’ve said my share of curses towards the lead footed (both gas and break) drivers of the over-stuffed death-traps that are China’s transit system, but man … some days it just doesn’t pay to ask for correct change…
Basically, the story goes… two dudes and their tight-panted tag-along get on a bus in Wuhan and put 5 RMB in the box. The bus driver explains that it’s 2 RMB/person, and therefore they owe another yuan. The guy, who apparently usually pays with a bus card (and gets a cheaper rate because of it, argues that it is 5 RMB for 4 people. Claiming the bus driver is trying to cheat him, he files his complaint to the back of the driver’s head with his elbow.
With no doubt wided-eyed expectation of things to come, all the passengers sit and watch, generally ignoring the driver’s pleas to call the police. One exception is a brave woman who stands up for the driver, and is quickly beaten down by buddy #2. The thugs demand the driver open the door, but the driver is too busy counting the Chinamation birdies flying around his head. After randomly pushing buttons to open the doors, the punks give the driver another beating for not opening the door. Buddha intervenes and the door opens.
The three exit the bus only to throw a couple large rocks through the window at the driver. The driver makes a snide comment about no one calling the police (he’s some nerve, eh?) and then 28 people exit the bus without so much of a “hey pal, you alright? You just got the shit kicked out of you.”
I’ve noticed more and more taxis featuring Plexiglas dividers segregating themselves from their fares. I now understand why, and wonder if they wont be fitted into buses in the near future.
Incidentally, I’ve officially crossed “Chinese bus driver” off of my list of future career options.