They call him “The Punisher”. Born Alexei Volkov, the Russian bus driver is famous in the city of Zelenograd for ramming motorists that cut him off. Better yet, Volkov records the smash-ups with a dashboard camera to maintain his innocence. A compilation of the footage spliced together from his YouTube channel can be enjoyed here. If it doesn’t make you cheer for vigilante roadway justice you might be better off riding the Punisher’s bus.
Volkov’s unique “teaching” as he’s called it, is a direct retaliation to the insane driving conditions in Russia. Incidents of automotive insurance fraud are common; especially incidents where motorists cut off large vehicles to intentionally cause an accident. The scheme works so well it has even shown signs of emerging recently in the United States.
The Punisher isn’t having any of it. He claims to have been involved in more than 100 accidents in his career, many of which were initiated by motorists who thought they could get away with cutting him off. In a recent interview, Volkov took the opportunity to comment on his celebrity and his mission.
Have you been found not guilty in all cases due to the video records?
In all cases of scams I was found not guilty. In the past the traffic cops sometimes tried to argue, but I always succeeded to prove my point through the court. And now everything works like a clock – they judge objectively.
Do you have problems with the management because of the large number of accidents?
If there is no fault of mine, the management doesn’t care. The bus usually gets only minor damage. If the damage is more serious, they just wait for the insurance payments and then repair. For example, in the last accident the front bumper was seriously deformed after I hit a truck weighing 3 tons.
And what is the attitude of your colleagues and traffic cops to your principles?
It’s not about principles. Take my latest accident. What could I do? Swerve to the left in the oncoming traffic or suddenly brake and maybe injure the passengers? In both cases my license would be revoked and I’d have some serious problems. While the happy bastard would just leave the scene. I am not interested in such outcome. The cops just grin. As for the colleagues – I haven’t asked what they thought.
Have you ever got complaints from the passengers, who were unhappy that they couldn’t get to their destination after the accidents with scammers?
That’s a strange question. The passengers escaped uninjured, what can they complain about? That’s nonsense.
So, none of your bus passengers has been injured in accidents?
No, not a single passenger was injured.
How do the scammers behave after the accidents, when they realize that they will obviously be found guilty of the accident?
After the accident, nobody realizes that they will “obviously be found guilty”. It’s still a common misconception that those who hit from behind are always at fault. So, they behave arrogantly. Though later it’s funny to watch their painfully pathetic explanations in the office of the analysis group which investigates the accident. By the way, the freak from the last video considered himself right even after cops explained him the situation and he hired a lawyer.
And how in general will you evaluate the behavior of Zelenograd motorists from the point of view of the bus driver? Do they give the right to a bus departing from the bus stop?
What can I say? They usually behave in a rude manner. I often see how bus waits with the turn signal switched on for one-two minutes, and these “morons” still continue squeezing in. However, the situation is gradually improving. Also, due to my educational work.