Commercial bus driving and the bus conductor’s role on the buses are usually dated to the 1970th .The bus conductor has continued to be a regular feature, especially on the double deck buses that ply in towns and cities, not only in London Routemaster but in parts of Africa,Asia and America.
Gradually, this bus conductor’s service has graduated to become an appreciated part of the service expected when a passenger is on board a commercil bus, whether it is a double deck or not.
Today, issues on the History of the place and job of the bus conductor in commercial buses is become a subject to varied opinions.Despite these different stands, every commercial bus plying intra and inter states, no matter the distance it covers;of two or three hours kilometre drive,the driver’s mate; bus conductor, service becomes more impotrant.
The bus conductor is expected to exhibit good sense of business to the passengers patronizing the bus to which he is a conductor.Often times his work is a volunteered service,to provide assistance to the driver, attend and give the passenger best attention.Sometimes the bus conductors scrabble for passengers’ attention and persuade them to patronize the vehicle to which they are attentants.
Litrarily, they lift off from the hands or heads of the passenger any load the passenger is carrying unto the loading bus.It is also a perceived duty of the bus conductor to direct the passengers and lead them unto a convenient sitting position.It is, however, not unlikely for such supposed assistance from the bus conductor to be despised.
The passengers think they have a right and are entitled to any sit of their choice. But the bus conductors’ assistance in conducting the passengers to appropriate seat positions, sometimes, saves unpleasant situations.
Such situation like a ‘big sized’ passenger who stubbornly sits near to the car door could make it either difficult to close the door or further inconvenience both the conductor or other passengers. The greater inconvenience is caused when the pre-supposed sitting position meant for the bus conductor is staked.
When this is so, the accruing fares from the seat becomes unaccounted for.It belongs to the bus conductor.The driver can not request for it.This is a standing concessional provision for the bus conductor. It is also a common belief among members of the public that the bus conductor is a notorious tout and miscreant added to this inconvenience he caused the passengers.
This belief is usually not suffiently substantiated.
There are bus conductors who do not live on the streets as miscreants.The lack of descent jobs has made some of them to undertake the service as a way of supporting themselves economically.Their dress code, however, give them away.But the job is a dirty one and would not require a ‘very low’ income earner him to have a big wardrobe budget.
Whatever is the goodwill they enjoy during the day of service, sometimes they could pilfer the entire collection before giving account to the driver at the end of each trip.The bus conductor knows that at the end of the day, he would be given at least a five hundren naira wage.
That is the macre wage they labour for each day.This is aside the breakfast,lunch and sometimes, dinner allowance, he receives.The bus conductor is not expected to be a ‘zombi’.Not slothful.Not a weakling.But smart, capable to ‘shine eye’ when it is needful.So much ‘monetary intelligence’ is required of the bus conductor to attend to the passengers needs as they are on board the bus.
He also as collect the fares accurately form the passenger as they come on board and alight at bus stops,opening the bus door for them.The bus conductor connexions-direct.com who is good at social relations could engage the passengers in varied discussion on social, political, economic and ‘yabbies’.
Those who have good sense of humour tell interested jokes. At other times,they engage or roughly confront the passengers.This could create a fierce tension and assaulting results.When the tension hieghtens, the driver intervenes in the squabble.
He calls the bus conductor to stop the rift.At other times, other right thinking passengers mediate in the brewed tension. But there is always a general feeling of complex and anger among bus conductors because of the disdain they suffer in the public palace.
This is part of the content of animousity that make them pensive and sometimes unfriendily to the members of the public.Other complaints include the deliberate keeping back of ‘a change’ for the passenger who has offered a high currency and lack of regular bath that has stamped on them offensive body ordour.
The bus conductor is also accused of selling his seat position and rather choice to hang on the front seat passengers’ back rest or sit on the metalic cover of the engine adjoining to the front seat. On a number of times there has been an outright physical between the bus conductor and some passengers over some of the observed complaints.
To this end, there is a growing mixed feeling about the role played by the bus conductor and the level of relationship that should subsist.
Some conductors like Biran Gbara, Nwabueze Chukwu, Boniface Peter and Monday Udoh said most passengers are always paranoid and transfer aggression of whatever ill they have suffered else where on conductors.This makes them less tolerant, pensive and emotional.
Usually, they intentionally present high currency notes in spite of the advice given to them not to join the bus if they do not have the exact fare. Bus service operation and scheduling. However, such passengers bluntly would join the buse just to cause such conflicts.Wht they do is to pair passengers to share and sort themselves.
This,usually, aggreviates the passengers. But that would be the best to do in the circumstances.
On the part of the passengers like John Ufo, Ebi James and Madam Ruby Chukwu acknowledged the important role the bus conductor plays. They, however, want the bus conductor to be more civil, have regular bath, be more respectful and stop pairing passengers who are not bounded to similar destinations.
They also complaint that the bus conductor sometimes indulge in ‘stealing act’ of lougage.Which he had assisted to load up unto the boot of the bus. At the point of stopping, the passenger may be very unlunky to discover that his baggage did not make the journey after all.At such point, the bus conductor acts a good sympathizer’s role.
After the hues, the passenger goes home without his baggage.If only they can change for the better there will be not misunderstanding and querrels.
An official of the Garrison-Slaughter Trans-Amadi unit of the National Union of Road transport Workers, Henry Okotto said it is often times difficult to identify the character of a conductor before engaging his services.But what they do, as a union, is to dismiss any unruly bus conductor when discovered.But he is first cautioned,then observed for a notable change.
The unit also organises a regular briefing sessions for them to streamline behaviour of bus conductors. Members of the public are also encourage to make formal report on any conductor who was found to be unruly.He assert that the unit is doing the best possible to maintain a good passenger relationship.