The bus driver who tried to cheat (Yining, Xinjiang, China)

This is another situation : not so obvious a rip-off, which ended up fine for us, but not for the bloke selling tickets in the bus who was humilited in front of his boss. He was asking 80 Yuans for the two of us for only 100 km, which is a little too much on a smooth and easy road. In the bus, the bloke selling tickets remained calm and polite while he explained it was more expensive because it was a sleeper bus (fewer passengers). He filled in the ticket correctly with all details and price, so we paid.

When we got to the bus station, I still had a doubt. So I asked someone else how much it cost to go to this lake where we came from, with a sleeper bus. Another person who spoke a little english came. He wore a uniform with a sign 'police' on the shoulder. He translates the normal price "25 Yuans per person". Only then I showed him the ticket we paid 80 Yuans for two and I point at the chinese for 'overcharge' in my dictionary. He understood immediately and brought us a small bench so we can sit while he talks with his colleagues and makes a phone call. A few minutes later, he comes back, tells us to get into his car and drives us to the main bus station. We follow him into the office to the chief. Surprise : who was there ? The bloke from the bus ! He made quite a face when he saw us...

Sometimes it is not necessary to know a language to guess a conversation : our policeman explained the problem to the chief, who immediately replied "if they came from this lake, then this is the man, right ?", pointing at the bloke from the bus. We just said "yep, that's him...". The policeman left, the chief finished with somebody else before dealing with us. There was a short converstation between him and the bus attendant, who was definitely not happy. He eventually pulled out 20 Yuans (instead of 30). I just wrote on a piece of paper '80-50=30). The chief turned to him, and he threw the last 10 Yuans on the desk, after a few more angry words. In China, loosing face is very critical and for sure in this situation, the bus attendant was humiliated, he passed as a thief in front of his boss. We don't mean to be stingy, it's not a lot of money, but if we let go every time, we would encourage the locals to do the same to every foreign visitor.

see some photos from Xinjiang





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