“You shall give him his wage on his day” (Devarim 24:15) is a Torah statute. I travel a lot on public busses. Does this law also refer to the money I pay for a ride on the bus? Since the worker, or owner of the bus company, is not there driving the bus, if I could not pay for whatever reason, do I have to go to the office on the day of the ride and pay for it? It’s quite a hassle, I must tell you, Rabbi. But I want to do the right thing. What should I do?
I commend you for trying to do what’s right. That is what we should all be doing.
Indeed, there was one day when the bus drivers were on strike and they did not collect the bus fare from the travelers. In addition, it often happens that the driver does not have change for the fare and he tells the passenger, “pay next time”. In these cases, one must try to pay as soon as possible, on the first chance and the Torah statue is applicable here. Nevertheless, you are not obligated to travel to the company offices to pay on that day. You can pay when you have the first chance to do so without extra hassle.
See Rema Choshen Mishpat 227:33: riding on a bus includes the price of the hired worker and a renting of the rights to ride on the bus.
The passenger is not obligated to go to the main offices in order to pay for his ride as is the law when a borrower wants to pay the lender and he refuses to accept the payment. He is exonerated from making the effort to find the lender and pay the loan. Now the lender has to look for the borrower as opined by the Sema 120:10. One is not guilty of withholding wages since he is not obligated to travel to the offices to pay his bill.