Pay It Forward.

Back when the bus was my main method for getting around I quickly picked up on tips and tricks for riding the routes. Transfers, for instance, would allow me to hop from one bus to another, although usually only after they’d stopped moving. A transfer was only ten cents or, if you took long enough searching your pockets for a dime the driver would sigh and hand you one. A transfer was only good for one change, though, and not long after I figured this out they discontinued them anyway, although if someone claimed to have gotten on the wrong route by mistake or offered up a sad enough excuse the driver would sigh and write them a note, but that’s another story.

By then I’d already figured out that the best deal was the all-day pass. Regular bus fare was $1.75 and an all-day pass was $3.50 so it saved me a whopping twenty cents. And while I rarely changed buses more than once I liked the comfort of the all-day pass which would allow me to ride as many buses as I wanted and didn’t expire until 2 a.m. the next day, unlike the transfer which expired after half an hour although even if you handed over an expired one the driver would usually sigh and just take it.

Since I rarely rode the bus after dark, much less after midnight, my all-day pass would still be good for twelve or more hours even after I was done so I’d leave it behind or pass it on to a fellow rider. They’d have already paid one fare but I always hoped I could save them having to pay another, or at least save them a whopping ten cents for a transfer. And then on one occasion I did what I always wanted to do: as I was leaving I handed the pass off to someone, a woman with a baby stroller, who was just about to board so she wouldn’t have to pay. I tried to do it discreetly so the driver wouldn’t see it, but I wasn’t discreet enough.

“You’re not supposed to do that!” he yelled behind me.

Then he sighed and let her use it.

 

20 Comments

  1. Ann Koplow

    Another great post, Chris. (Sigh)

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Thank you for coming along for the ride.

      Reply
  2. Ray Visotski

    The system belongs to those that know how to work it.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Exactly. It’s why it’s always a priority for me to figure out how to work the system.

      Reply
  3. Allison Everett

    We had a woman give us an unexpired pass in Munich. They call it “riding in black” and it’s illegal, but done constantly.

    We bought five day passes for our time there and they were dirt cheap, but got you onto any train, bus or streetcar in the transit system. Sometimes, we would just hop on a bus to see a new part of the city. Get a beer in that neighborhood, back on the bus.

    It’s a great thing.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s kind of funny that it’s illegal since there’s really no way they could prevent it. And as long as a pass is still good why not pass it on to someone else? That seems like a great way to promote the tourist industry, especially in a city like Munich.

      Reply
  4. Jay

    Why should kind acts be discouraged?
    Back when I took the bus, the fare included a transfer that was good for unlimited rides for then next hour and a half – you just had to board at the front, and be sure to pick up the little printed piece of paper. Homeless people would always be begging for transfers you weren’t going to use yourself, and then ride warmly for the next hour or so.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      The one nice thing I’ve found riding the bus is that most drivers are willing to encourage kind acts rather than discouraging them. It’s pretty sad too to think that buses are one place homeless people have to be warm. If I knew that’s why someone were riding the bus I’d be even happier to give them my all day pass.

      Reply
  5. mydangblog

    You are such a kind person. That bus driver knew what he was up against–no wonder he just sighed and let her on.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I hope, although I’m not sure, that the driver was just putting on an act and wasn’t really bothered by me handing off an all-day pass. It’s not as though he’d lose any money over it.

      Reply
  6. Katterfox

    I once had three free passes to an event and was only going with my son. I tried to give one of the passes to the family behind me, and the lady accepting the tickets scolded me and said those were only for me, so it went to waste. I wish I would have caught somebody before reaching the entrance, was disappointed.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      That is a real shame that one free pass went to waste. I guess the people responsible for taking the tickets have a responsibility to stop that sort of thing, but it always feels better to do an act of kindness.

      Reply
  7. Arionis

    I’m going to write a million dollar check, go to the bank, and hope your bus driver is now a teller there. When I hand over the check, he will inform me that I have insufficient funds, sigh, then cash it anyway. That’s how it works right? Fingers crossed.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      If that works let me know, but we’ll just keep it between us. If word gets around everyone’ll do it and a million won’t buy as much as it does now.

      Reply
  8. Mrs Fancy-Pants

    No more buying tickets for the little travel I do on public transport now – came back to NSW to find that we now use Opal Cards for all that travel – just tap on and off and it comes off credit card. It’s glorious. I do still love people who see me parking and offer their not yet expired parking tickets to put on my dashboard, though.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It’s amazing how much easier some things have become with technology. I still have to swipe a card through the reader whenever I get on the bus but I suspect it won’t be long before all I have to do is tap it. Nashville still has old fashioned parking meters, though, and sometimes you’ll see me putting change in random ones as I walk down the street so strangers don’t get tickets.

      Reply
  9. Robert Collins

    You’re very kind. The bus driver is friendly, too. Sometimes they really need this pass.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      If I can help others I’m always happy to do it.

      Reply
  10. Gilly Maddison

    I think it’s great when people pass unexpired tickets to each other to use. It was common here in the U.K. to pass unexpired car park tickets to each other to use up if there was lots of time left on them. It was always a spirit lifter for me to have someone yell at me as I approached a car park ticket machine to have some one yell and wave their ticket at me as they were leaving. And also, it felt good to hand my own tickets to another person to use. But many of the mean, penny -pinching car parking companies now use a system where you have to key in you car licence plate number to the machine and it prints your number on the ticket. What a mean world we live in where systems are developed to combat simple human kindness all for the sake of money.

    Reply
    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      It is terrible the way technology seems aimed to force penny-pinching by greedy companies. It’s one reason I’m kind of glad to still see parking meters that take change and if I have some change in my pocket and see a car parked at a meter I’ll give them a few extra minutes.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: