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Fare Increase

I have to use public transport a lot.  There are public buses (nice but rather infrequent), private buses (always packed - I try to avoid them), autorickshaws (cheap if you share with others and fast too) and tempos (like autos - but more people can fit in).  I know the fares for the journeys I have to travel.  I always like pay my fare as soon as possible.

Recently, my eldest son Neil had to attend school on a holiday.  Neil is in 9th Class - he'll be doing a big public examination in 10th.  Sometimes it is necessary for him to attend school when his little brother doesn't.  Because it was a holiday his regular van driver didn't come.

My husband told me that I should walk Neil to the local bus stop, make sure he was  in an autorickshaw, pay the fare and send him

"He knows where to get out," Yash said.  "Don't worry, he'll be fine."

Call me an overprotective mother, but I just couldn't send Neil in the auto on his own.  Perhaps if he had been going along with a friend or one of his siblings I would have left him,  but he was alone and carrying a big schoolbag.  In another year or so he'll be able to go anywhere, but for now, I decided to go to the school gate with him.  I go by my instincts.

I knew that the fare per person used to be Rs.5 but had recently increased to Rs. 7.  Schoolkids travelling with their mothers travel free, but obviously Neil is the size of a grown man and has to pay the fare.  So to pay the Rs.14 fee, I gave two Rs.10 notes to the driver when I got out and waited for my change (Rs.6).  The driver's mobile rang before he could give my change.  He had a conversation, then closed his phone and started to drive away.

"Excuse me!" I said (in Hindi).  "Please give me my change.  Six rupees."

"There fare is ten rupees each.  No change," he replied.

"Nonsense.  It can't go up so much.  It was only five rupees last week.  It has increased to seven rupees.  Give me my change!"

He was adamant that there was no change.  The two ten rupee notes were lying in his cash box.  Furious, I snatched one of them back.
"You'll have to be happy with five rupees each, then!  Good luck," I said, and walked away.

 It seems rather daring to do a thing like that, but I was quite worked up.  It would have been easy to let him go and say 'well it's only six rupees.'  The trouble is, when you let people go 'just this once,' they tend to think you are foolish and keep on overcharging you.  It is better to show that you won't take that nonsense.

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