A grim story from Northern Ireland today about a thug who attempted to set fire to a bus driver who refused to be robbed.
The attack highlights the dangers to bus drivers who have to drive to and through many out of the way locations while carrying cash. The incident happened on a Translink service – their drivers still carry accessible money, as do our own Bus Eireann drivers here in the Republic.
In Dublin however, the practice ended 10 years ago, following an increasingly violent series of robberies of bus drivers at suburban termini late at night. All Dublin Bus vehicles have a “no change” system with fares going down a chute into an underfloor safe. This has kept driver free from robbery, though sadly random assault for the sake of it still happens from time to time.
The Dublin Bus system, which sees “change tickets” issued by the driver frequently comes under attack in the media, usually when the end of year accounts show the amount of unclaimed change. Rarely if ever is the reason for the introduction of the system remembered or mentioned, and when it is, it is still seen as a “bus” problem, rather than a society problem.
Well, I’m sorry, but I have to say this: we get the world we deserve.
If we let our streets be so unsafe that bus drivers cannot carry cash without being attacked, then we have no right to bitch when a “no change” system is introduced, and if the company issues change tickets and we choose not to cash them, we have no right to complain about the amassed revenue.
The same goes for the people of Loughlinstown Park, or West Tallaght, when their buses are withdrawn due to gangs of stonethrowing (or worse) thugs. If we can’t keep the feral members of society under control, than a 20 minute walk through dangerous streets is our consequence.
“Ah, but the people who suffer are not the ones who are to blame” is the frequent hand-wringing answer.
We get the society that we deserve.
There is no magic “them” who should be fixing things for us.
We are responsible for the world that we live in, every single one of us. Even if we are not the ones who have the children who throw the rocks, we are responsible when we look the other way, when we tolerate what we should not tolerate, when we allow violent behaviour to become the norm, when we are complicit in the binge-drinking culture, when we expect “them” to fix everything for us, but fail to vote out governments that don’t change things, or fail to vote at all.
We get the world that we deserve, and and the only way to change it lies with each and every individual.