Jul 13, 2024

A Jurisprudential Analysis of Bus Fare in Kathmandu Valley “Rs 18 even in number, odd in practice”

A Jurisprudential Analysis of Bus Fare in Kathmandu Valley “Rs 18 even in number, odd in practice”

It was just a few months ago, that the bus fare in Kathmandu had been Rs. 18 as a minimum fare. The number is even but creates an odd situation in our lives. Yes, very odd, odd up to that level where one gets a flash of opprobrium, which in legality is not. Back then, I used to travel to Bagbazar frequently. And the medium would be micros, most of the time. I had just passed my 12 so the identity card I had, had already expired, and neither did I have a uniform, as my college hadn’t started. It used to take 10 to 12 minutes to reach the station from my home. In the meantime, while traveling to the station, many thoughts would revolve around my head regarding the discussion I would have to make with a conductor. Yes, the discussion regarding the fare, which was even in number but always created an odd situation out there in micro. 

During the first day of my travel, I gave Rs. 20 to the conductor as a fare, expecting Rs. 2 in return. But my expectations could not turn into reality. I, then, asked him for the return he had to make, and in response, he said, the fare was 20 itself. I was in dilemma whether I was being fooled or the reality itself was that. I, then, checked my mobile, turned on the mobile data, and searched for a fare. There it was in a visible manner written the minimum fare was Rs. 18. I showed him the following thing, and now the expectation was re-established again (to get a return). But, instead of giving 2 rs to me, he said we could assume it as Rs. 20 itself and no one carries coins these days. There developed many arguments in my mind but then I chose to stay quiet, I didn’t want to be the victim of social opprobrium. Were other people too skeptical of being the victim of social opprobrium or they created a sphere for me to be in that state? 

On the second day of my travel, I carried Rs. 15 and 3 coins. Again, a problem, I had to carefully manage those coins in between the notes of Rs. 10 and 5 while giving them to the conductor. Not only that, I would have to be prepared for the reaction that would come through him/her, also the people around me. I thought that the people who would give fare later would ask for the return as they had seen me, giving coins, and the conductor could have not said that he didn’t have a coin to give in return. But to my surprise, no one asked for the return. Ohh, Bentham, I surrender, maximum happiness here corresponds to the maximum ignorance people have been doing regarding the fair fare. Probably because they don’t want to waste their extra seconds bothering to ask for the return or even have a discussion there. I wondered if the situation I faced was pain or pleasure. The criticism made regarding Bentham’s theory felt relieving when I experienced it. 

One day during travel, beside me was a girl of my age in a proper college uniform. When the conductor reached us, she gave Rs. 10 as a fare, to which the conductor asked for 5 rs more. She said that she always traveled with Rs. 10. There, I didn’t want just two of them to converse, so I joined too. For further clarification, I said that the discount one gets when in uniform or card is 45% of the total amount, which becomes Rs. 8 in number, and deducting it from the original fare it would exactly be Rs. 10. I knew what kind of reaction I would be getting there by the conductor, and as I had imagined it, the same imitation was expressed through his face, probably he is a mind-reader. Back to Bentham’s theory, we two girls as a minority had won over the practice of the majority which probably did justice to the criticism made. 

This time, I was in uniform, my college had already started, and now I had to make further conversation with the conductor. When we reached Jamal, the conductor started to collect the fare. As I was in the last seat there was more space for my mind to revolve the thoughts around. When my turn came, I gave him 10, as usual, he asked me for an extra 5 to which I said the same thing about percentage and all and also said that I always traveled with Rs. 10. I was disheartened when he replied by saying, ‘Aauna ta free mai aauchha holani’ with that anger in his face. That was real and even intense social opprobrium. Adding upon that, one conductor even threw the money towards me and asked for an extra 5 Rs, to which I didn’t give a further explanation but rather gave him Rs. 15 itself. 

At present, I travel in the micro of Thimi. The minimum fare is 19 and the student gets a discount of 45% amounting to Rs. 11. However, they are bound to pay rs. 15 instead. There is already mentioned reservation regarding their inefficacy in giving change money requesting students not to bargain on that matter. In this situation, the student is bearing the loss of Rs. 4 in one travel. The provision of 45% is the privilege of a student, but they are not able to utilize it due to the impractical policy of the government. 

In fact, in some micros, we can even see that they hide the discounted fare by multiple pins so that students can not cite the list to claim the return. 

Eugen Erlich’s living law theory is very relevant to the situation created through the odd law made by the government. There is a law, but society doesn’t follow it. To be precise, it is a dead law. Hence, to navigate this instance, the government should make policies that are practical. It can initiate to make a process of payment through digital platform so that students could pay accurate fare without worrying the social opprobrium even when speaking for what is fair and just.   

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