Ludovic and I were out late one night in
But then the ticket inspectors got on and announced to the passengers that night buses were now more expensive than regular daytime buses, i.e. you had to have two bus tickets or a bus pass + a ticket. The ticket inspectors began checking all the people and, not surprisingly, no one had two tickets. The reason being that the inspectors’ announcement was the first anyone had heard of the new night bus premium.
I remember thinking in my naïve American way that when the inspectors realised that no one had known of the new two-ticket rule, that they would let us all go on our way with nothing more than a verbal warning and a reminder for next time. But, of course, that is not the way things work in the weird Czech world that I live in.
Next thing we knew, the bus pulled up at the police station and we were all herded inside. The thing I found the oddest was that none of the Czech passengers, i.e. everyone on the bus aside from me and Ludo, was arguing. They were going into the police station like sheep to the slaughter. There must have been about 30 people. Ludo didn’t want to argue either because he had already had several run-ins with police who thought he looked a bit too much like an illegal alien from
Max, however, was slightly drunk, definitely belligerent and not in the mood to be treated like a criminal. I argued in what must have been slightly comedy Czech as I had not even been in the country for a year at the time and my language skills were still rather basic. My arguments, no matter how they sounded in Czech, were rational and logical. There had been no sign at the bus stop and no sign on the bus – how the hell were we to know that the night bus suddenly required two tickets? The ticket inspector I had accosted responded that it didn’t matter, that we knew now, and that we were all going to be processed and fined by the police. I said that was bullshit and that all they could do to us was inform us that we would need two tickets next time. I went on for a while longer than that, but you get the idea. The problem was that you cannot talk sense into people that have no sense.
The police and inspectors left us sitting there for a while and I told Ludo that I was going to leave. Ludo, always nervous and wary of trouble, argued with me and asked me to wait because there was no way he was going to walk out with me. But only a few minutes later, while I was fidgeting with impatience, a policeman came into the waiting area and told us we were all free to go. Ludo and I walked out and walked home.
We avoided the night buses for a while, but eventually we heard that the two-ticket requirement idea had been scrapped and it was safe to ride the night buses again armed with nothing more than a single ticket or a pass.