Bus drivers in Okayama working with Ryobi Group have taken to the streets in an unusual form of protest. While technically on strike, they are continuing to drive their routes while refusing to take fares from passengers.
▼ Image shows a white blanket over the fare machine.
A new rival bus line Megurin began operating on April 27 with some routes overlapping those of Ryobi and offering a cheaper fare. If that all wasn’t bad enough, Megurin buses have cute little faces too.
As a result, Ryobi drivers are feeling threatened and are asking management for improvements to their job security under the added competition. It would seem Ryobi was less than enthusiastic to accommodate and a strike was declared.
In cases such as this, management may use the labor stoppage against the drivers, appealing to the public that they are putting their own needs before the community’s. So to show that isn’t the case, Ryobi drivers are continuing to clock in, but without performing the part of their job that requires them to accept payment during certain times. In other words, free bus rides for all!
This isn’t the first time such a strike has occurred in Japan or around the world. Both Brisbane and Sydney held fare-free days as part of labor disputes last year. The earliest documented case of a “fare strike” goes back a protest by Cleveland streetcar workers in 1944, and similar cases involving other services have happened in Europe and Latin America prior to that.