An outing in London. The bus stops at the stop and stays stopped. The driver is refusing budge because three people have got on via the back door and have not paid. At first, the three buscrashers - two guys and a girl - are so busy chatting they do not hear the driver. They may be pretending not to, but to be fair I am next to them and I cannot hear what he is saying. True, it is harder to ignore the glares from other passengers and the fact the bus is not going anywhere, but they chat away seemingly unaware. Finally, the driver opens his door and yells: "I'm not going anywhere until the three people who got on the back get off the bus." The three culprits look a tad shamefaced and have the good grace to get off without yelling, swearing or making a fuss. "What's his problem?" says the Frenchman nodding in the direction of the driver.
In France, half the bus has got on by the back door and not paid. If you get on at the front you can walk right past the driver without a bus pass, a ticket or the equivalent of an Oyster Card and nothing will be said. You are of course supposed to pay and in the unlikely event an inspector gets on before you have time to jump off you will be caught and fined. Or so they say. I think the fine is 25 euros (about £18.50) but I have never seen an inspector check tickets or issue one, so I would not know. Once I asked the Frenchman: "Why doesn't the driver make sure everyone pays." He replied: "It's not their job. Their job is to drive the bus."
I believe this tells you more or less all you need to know about the British and French approach to rules.
Quid pro quo
1 week ago