Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Don't be a Schwarzfahrer!

That’s the name for a Fare Dodger in these parts of Munich. I’ve talked about the honor system on the Munich S and U-bahn train and bus system. But is it really an honor system if they check? That sounds more like a “fear of getting caught” system. I used to keep all my old monthly passes, thinking that if I ever forgot to buy the updated version and got caught on the 2nd day of the month, they would see that I was a regular (legitimate) customer and not give me the 40-60 euro fine. Then I heard of a friend getting fined for a week long ticket that expired at noon. It was 10 minutes after noon when she was caught, and she thought the ticket was valid throughout the day. Now I buy the next month’s ticket several days before the end of the month. The “fear of getting caught” system is working on me. The Deutschebahn police have been out in force for the past few months, and I’ve seen undercover agents checking at least once per week. It’s a bit unnerving to have the undercover agents check, because they flash a card and ask for a ticket, but they don’t seem to have any badge or identification visible. Despite the uneasiness, like all the other Germans, I follow along and show my (valid) ticket.


Marie Reed said...

I was 'caught' in Frankfurt last month! I hopped on the very last s bahn at 11.45 ... I almost missed it and was sooo out of breath. I just didn't have time to buy a ticket. I couldn't believe it when they checkes! They NEVER check! Goodbye 40 Euros!

Anonymous said...

In Munich at least, the controletti can actually cancel your ticket (streifenkarte) on the train, you'd need a very good excuse for them to do it though... I think they've been introducing more and more DB security into the MVG system for the last few years, but I'm not whether sure they check tickets at all during Wiesn