The Coinslot King

Good morning, #peopleofpublictransport fans! Today’s Person is The Coinslot King. The King can be of either gender.

It may or may not come as a surprise that upon entering the bus passengers are expected to pay for their passage. Typically one swipes a pass, a credit or debit card, or inserts a bill of sufficient value and scoops up the automatically dispensed change. The Coinslot King uses coins. He uses many coins, of as small a value as possible. One at a time. With long gaps to fish through pockets, occasionally producing bits of paper, string, lint, etc. The payment machine narrates the transaction. Or rather, it shouts out the remaining balance to pay. The bus cannot move on until payment is received. The entire bus tenses as the machine shouts out ever-smaller increments, the pauses coming longer and longer as as they hunt for the elusive last nickel. And then, as the passengers on the bus hold their collective breath, the machine wants only one more coin.

The Coinslot King rummages through wallet and pocket like he’s looking for the lost winning lottery ticket, and at length he produces a discolored, bent, worn 1962 nickel, or possibly it might be a Hershebian half-dong, worth roughly 0.3c. The machine considers, then spits it back, screeching “COIN REJECTED” like an offended Dalek. Alas, this is the Coinslot King’s only remaining coin, so he feeds it through again and again, until the machine is so tired of the game it accepts the coin. Nobody on the bus is glad, though, because we are now all late.


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