I forgot the ticket back home. In the offing was a whirlwind tour home, couple of thousand kilometers away, stopover at in-laws and a function to organize, all in four days’ time. And amidst the melee, the Karnataka State Road Tourism Corporation (KSRTC) bus ticket booked for the return journey from Bangalore to Mangalore was forgotten and it lay safe on the topmost shelf of the bedroom.
I realized it while I was at home and hence could do nothing about it. I called my colleague to find out if a duplicate ticket could be issued. After inquiry he got me the PNR number and the ticket number. Owing to reaching Bangalore late in the evening, all effort to search for a KSRTC counter which would issue a duplicate ticket failed. The following morning the bus was scheduled at 11 am. We reached the bus stand by 9:30 to discover at the KSRTC office that duplicate ticket can only be issued 2 hours prior to the journey after paying 25% of ticket fee as fine.
Now comes the interesting part. The ‘job sheet’ that the bus conductor carried had our seats written against our names along with my mobile number. Despite my plea to produce photo identity proving it was indeed me, he would not oblige to let us in. That followed contacting all and sundry officials of KSRTC to explain the case. A few were willing to help, others not. The scene was gradually turning tense and hostile and at some point futile.
Right about then, I received a text message, DM-KSRTC, intimating about the journey and giving the phone number of conductor thereon. I was hopeful that would clinch my case, as a mere physical paper ticket could not surpass all the other evidences suggesting my proof of travel and identity. But alas, the bus conductor, his superior were not ready to budge.
The solution according to them. Buy a new ticket which he would issue for the same seat numbers and cancel the previous. Tricky part that I discovered later – there is no refund after the travel is made. Loss to me – twice the ticket cost! I cursed myself for not booking e-ticket, which I have been doing for all other travels since years now.
A sum of 1500 is not a small amount, but even if it were, paying the ticket cost again just because you are not carrying the ticket is ridiculous. The name, contact number on job sheet, the message from KSRTC, and presence of photo identity must have been enough to allow us to make the journey. But the rules overtook.
At this point it may be debated that the rule should be followed tooth and nail. That it doesn’t matter if the ticket cost had to be paid twice. But what about being pragmatic? At the face of enough evidence should the piece of paper supersede the human being present there, along with two sets of evidence for his travel?
I found the ticket after returning back home, carried it in pocket for lodging a complain; and after a day dumped it in a dustbin; for I knew the rule would prevail.