A day in the life of…...a bus conductor

May 24, 2011 12:00 am | Updated 04:10 am IST

<p><b>When you travel by bus, do you notice the man who sits by the door?</b>He is the bus conductor. Do you know what his day is like? Read on to find out…</p>

You would have seen him every time you board the bus. Even if you miss him there's hardly a chance he will miss you! His bag clinking with coins and his hands full of tickets. Yes, we are talking about the conductor in a bus. Have you ever imagined what it is to be one? Well, we trailed Natarajan ( name changed on request ) for a day to get to know what his day looks like from when the time he reports for work.

Bus 70A – Ambattur Estate to Velachery MRTS terminus. Shift begins at 4.30 a.m.

4.15 a.m. : Natarajan reports for duty.

First stop : The booth where he collects his box which has tickets (numbered) for bus number 70 A., coins worth Rs. 30 and a traffic register (TR). He signs a register when he collects these. A TR is a very important document that needs to be filled at the given stages during the drive. The bus conductor has to note down the number of tickets sold at a particular stage.

Natarajan is not allowed to keep more than Rs. 50 with him, and in case he is carrying more than that, he needs to turn it in before he starts his trip. The conductor is given a daily allowance for coffee and snacks.

4.25 a.m.: The driver brings the bus around. The time-keeper certifies the names of the bus conductor and the driver and the time they leave.

4.30 a.m. The bus is on the road and work has begun with the first passenger on board. Natarajan issues tickets after checking the destination, collects money and tenders change. He blows his whistle for the bus to stop and start. He marks the TR at each stage on the route.

6.00 a.m: The bus arrives at the Velachery MRTS terminus.

The running time is one hour and 35 minutes. But in reality because of the traffic it takes more than two-and-a-half hours. The bus makes about four trips to Velachery and back.

The conductor and driver get a five minute tea-break between trips.

Natarajan's eight-hour shift is demanding as there are a lot of commuters on this route. He works six days a week.

When his shift is over he comes back to the Ambattur Estate terminus, gives in the money and tickets. He has to balance the accounts, fill the TR and sign it. He earns a percentage of the tickets sales as an incentive. Incentives change depending on the bus operated (express or normal).

Some other interesting facts we got to know is that a conductor wearing blue has worked for more than 14 years and one wearing a khaki uniform has worked anywhere between one to 13 years.

There are regulars with whom he exchanges a few words of greeting. He plays advocate, stopping passengers from playing music loudly and irritating co-passengers or settling disputes of vegetable vendors…

All in all, it's a busy day.

Top News Today


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.