A while ago I, among others, were harassed on the bus. Four young boys were yelling verbal abuse at the other riders, spitting at and indeed on them and otherwise behaving in a threatening and antisocial manner. A poor girl sat in front of me got off of the bus nearly in tears, only to have the kids spit at her through the window – I only hope she at least reached her stop and wasn’t driven off the bus early by the savages.
It was impossible for the bus driver not to notice, yet he did nothing. Noone complained, mostly due to fear of drawings the kids attention, especially since the chances of the bus driver taking action seemed pretty slim given he had done nothing at all so far.
The system seems so unfair and unjust, innocent riders like myself have no recourse but to ride out such incidents when the bus driver does nothing and retaliation is feared due to being condemned for assault. Who can we go to for help? The police? Could they even do anything? We feel powerless when those in authority do nothing and any chance of defending ourselves is taken away by fear of being branded a criminal. Does anyone have any faith that if they complained the camera footage would be watched and the kids consequently caughr? The answer is no. Most think little would happen and any justice handed out meaningless. Not only that but also the fear of retribution, what if the kids took revenge for any punishment or investigation against them? They surely saw the people they tormented and could recognise them again.
I myself feel guilty. I might have done something, but one can not help but feel one is making oneself a target for these thugs when you do, and when you have such little faith or hope of a good outcome, fear is a powerful motivator to sit down and hope things don’t get worse.
When did bus drivers stop caring about their passengers wellbeing? When was it ok for things like this to go on unchallenged? When was it that even retaliation and self defence were things to fear, afraid our own protectors would mark us as criminals?
In fact, I asked this very question of the bus company themselves and their response wasn’t very helpful.
Essentially it boiled down to “We can’t do anything and nor can our drivers, call the police and have them deal with it.”
Now, I can understand that they can hardly make it company policy to put their drivers in harms way, nor would I want them to, but the driver is in a position of authority and at the very least, if they don’t want to get into a confrontation they could perhaps call the police themselves from the relative safety of their concealed seating.
The main problem with calling the police as a passenger is that you are in full view of the assailants and you don’t know how they will react. Will they steal your phone and beat you up? Will they stab you? Will they leave and remember your face to come and get you at a later date? You don’t know. There is the additional worry of phoning. Most people don’t know the number for the police directly, they only know 999 and nobody wants to phone 999 so they can essentially say “someone’s picking on me on the bus”. Doing that in and of itself feels like a crime that could put a ‘real’ emergency call at risk of being answered too late and no-one wants to be told of by the emergency services for wasting their time, which I think is actually a crime.
It’s shit like this that fuels my misanthropy.