On the buses

We have a bus route coming to our complex. This may not seem very exciting, and actually for me personally, it isn’t. But for my maid it’s the most exciting thing to happen since, well, since she started working here. Historically she has relied on her boyfriend (man with a truck) to pick her up at weekends and take her to see her sister on the other side of town. He works every other weekend so on the ‘off’ weekend she sits in her room for two days, and goes nowhere. He left for Sri Lanka last month and is gone for eight weeks, so the announcement that a bus route is starting as of tomorrow was met with great excitement, and we duly began the process of procuring a bus pass for her as quickly as possible.

Easy, right? Wrong. In order to apply for said bus pass, we needed approximately twice as many forms of ID as it took to buy our house:

– Application form, signed by the applicant and the sponsor

– Passport photo

– Copy of applicant’s visa

– Applicant’s photo ID

– Copy of Sponsor’s passport & visa

– Proof of home ownership

– Letter of authorisation from sponsor (as IF she could get all the rest of this stuff if we DIDN’T authorise it!)

– Administration fee of Dhs 50/ £8 approx.

I particularly love the admin fee. Look how much scanning and photocopying I had to do. They merely took this giant bundle of paperwork, stuck a post-it note on top with our villa number written on it, and told us it would take a week to process. A WEEK.

What I particularly love about this scheme is that it assumes all the users of said bus are leaving our complex to go somewhere, then coming back. On a fail of epic proportions, they have failed to provide anyone with the means to travel in the reverse direction to visit the complex. Which effectively bans my maid and others like her from any kind of social life within the community, which I feel very strongly is their absolute right to have outside of working hours, the same as anyone else. This isn’t the first time I’ve come across this issue. I had to screech at the security office several weeks in a row when she first came to live with us, because despite the fact that I insisted her boyfriend was coming to our house on a private matter, they refused to let him and his truck through, on the grounds that ‘the truck is painted with a logo, madam’.

I understand it is a private community and they don’t want the DVD lady and the carpet man and a thousand landscapers touting for business  each and every day, annoying the residents and clogging up parking bays. But when you have to provide everything but the kitchen sink for a one-way bus pass, I feel things have gone a little far. What a shame, that such a great addition to the community is tarnished by the prejudice that my maid and thousands like her must come up against every day, to feel such a second class citizen that she can’t even ride the bus without our permission.

I hope this bus pass is gold plated.

 

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