I have just returned from a business trip to Italy and wish to remind travellers once again not to forget to purchase and validate tickets when travelling on public transport.
Last Saturday evening as I sat down on a tram in Milan, I realised I had left the 24 hour ticket I had purchased earlier, in my hotel room. I wasn't too concerned as I was only travelling for 3 stops and always, without fail, purchase tickets when using any form of public transport (in any Country). Very rarely had I seen Inspectors in the past.
This was not my lucky day. Oh my word, at the first stop, on jumped about 5 or 6 uniformed Inspectors - men and women - it felt like I was in a movie!
I was hauled off the tram, in minus 3 degree weather, and was instantly "read the riot act!!" This was done in an extremely authoritative and degrading manner.
This person, and I will not call him a gentleman, was so rude and simply would not listen to me. I fully understand I was in the wrong, but I was hoping that some form of leniency would be afforded to a foreigner allowing me to pay the 1 euro and giving me a firm warning for the future. Not a chance.
I was told the fine was Euro34, and that I had absolutely no respect for the laws of his Country (which was not the case at all) and who am I to think I can come to Italy and break the laws etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. A lot of what he said was really uncalled for. He could have simply written out the fine and taken the money - I did not see the necessity for the unpleasant confrontation.
He spoke in perfect English and was just relishing the feeling of his power trip in his uniform.
I have no idea what would the process would have been if I did not have the euro 34 on me. I did ask a few people living in Milan, but they were not sure either. There was nowhere in the immediate vicinity to purchase a ticket, but he very kindly informed me I could use the "fine document" to complete my journey of two more stops.
The reason I post this is simply to remind travellers to leave anything behind, but not your ticket!
I felt particularly aggrieved because I had just arrived from the a Fair in Florence and had placed orders with Italian Companies to the tune of Euros ++++++++++++. I understand the two issues are totally unrelated, but nevertheless, his nasty outburst did make me feel more irritated than I might have been if I was on holiday.
However, a good learning curve for future trips.