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A colleague is travelling in Chile at present, and on a bus trip from San Pedro de Atacama to Arica, the bus driver insisted on collecting and holding on to all their passports for the duration of the trip.

There were no border crossings during this time, and the reasons behind this collection was not explained. Can anyone shed some light on this behaviour? I've certainly experienced it before on border crossing trips, but not within a country...

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I can only imagine because he is afraid for people stealing stuff and then running away somewhere. – Bernhard Oct 26 '13 at 10:02
I believe this practice is not even legal at least in some countries despite it being common enough. – hippietrail Oct 26 '13 at 16:00
In many countries, hotels collect passports, even though you are obviously not crossing a border while at the hotel. Don't know if it's related to the situation with buses though. – user102008 Oct 28 '13 at 23:41
Could just be an easy way to do a headcount after stops and ensure that new people don't randomly get on? – SpaceDog Nov 5 '13 at 6:28

I just talked to my friend, who used to live in Chile. He (a Bangladeshi citizen) traveled a lot in this very route.

According to him, this is a very unusual case. He never faced something like that.

Even crossing border (for Peru, or Argentina), sometimes there's no need to show passport. Also, no visa required.

I guess the driver had "something" on his mind ... ;)

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what do you mean by 'something'? – Mark Mayo Mar 23 '14 at 7:27
I'd get off the bus before giving a bus driver my passport. – TheMathemagician Apr 3 '14 at 14:43
Agreed - I'd get off the bus before giving driver a passport. Even at border crossings, I'd never give it to him. Why should we? We don't know him, and he could run off with it. My golden rule is always hand it in yourself. There's no law that says he has to have it. – Natasha Nov 23 '15 at 23:13

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