A woman ended up getting booted off of a bus and fined for not having exact change for fare, even though she tried to pay the fare with enough money to cover it. She and her young son, who had just spent time at a children’s hospital, ended up walking the rest of the way home.
Pauline Tantost and her 2-year-old son Xavier boarded a bus late in the evening after five hours at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. The fare was $3 in exact change – something she did not have – and so she offered a $5 bill to the driver, who refused it and warned the woman that she could face trouble for not paying the fare if the bus were inspected. Sure enough, shortly thereafter, inspectors boarded the bus and kicked them off of it and then added insult to injury with a fine of $219 for not having the exact change.
Tantost said the driver refused to take the $5 because the fare machine does not accept bills.
An employee of the STM later told Tantost it was purely a coincidence that the bus was inspected.
“I find that suspicious,” Tantost said, according to CBC News.
Embarrassed, Tantost got off the bus with her son and stood on the sidewalk in tears before walking the rest of the way home.
“I think they showed a lack of humanity and a lack of kindness,” she said.
Another passenger reportedly went to the bus driver and offered to pay Tantost's fare but was shrugged off by the driver and inspectors.
Tantost said she told the inspectors she would contest the fine – words that according to her were met with a laugh and a comment about how the only benefit of that would be the overtime the STM employee treating the file would earn.
The STM declined to comment.