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Euro 34 fine on tram......another reminder to all travellers

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Johannesburg, South...
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Euro 34 fine on tram......another reminder to all travellers

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.

Kingston-upon-Hull...
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1. Re: Euro 34 fine on tram......another reminder to all travellers

While I agree some people in uniform can be on a power trip. You know you were on the tram without a ticket, so you broke the law and got caught out. And inplying you should maybe of let off because you were on a business trip, Well. If I come to Johannsburg can I ride the bus without a ticket?

Winchester...
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2. Re: Euro 34 fine on tram......another reminder to all travellers

Good post. Interesting, if humiliating, experience. I hope the story you can now tell was worth the fine! :-)

pacific northwest
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3. Re: Euro 34 fine on tram......another reminder to all travellers

Thanks for the warning! So sorry for your unpleasant experience, I can totally understand the frustration when you weren't purposely trying to rip off the bus authorities. I appreciate the reminder!

Johannesburg, South...
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4. Re: Euro 34 fine on tram......another reminder to all travellers

Ian480

It would be a pleasure to host you in Johannesburg - you would not have to worry about purchasing any tickets for public transport - I would personally drive you wherever you would wish to go (and it would be in comfort!)

P.S. Are you a Bus Inspector??

Kingston-upon-Hull...
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5. Re: Euro 34 fine on tram......another reminder to all travellers

No just someboby who pays on buses?

Verona, Italy
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6. Re: Euro 34 fine on tram......another reminder to all travellers

Uh oh!

McKees Rocks, PA
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7. Re: Euro 34 fine on tram......another reminder to all travellers

I am a little confused. Did all 5 or 6 jump on the train to confront you?

Or maybe was this just a random check of all passengers?

I have heard this horror stories before. I don't know why the police need to go to this extreme. The worst they should probably do is to tell you you need a ticket and it needs to be validated. And then just give you the fine.

And I agree with you that they should probably give foreign visitors a little more latitude. I can understand you being fined for having no ticket. After all how are the police to know you really left it in your room but I have read of similar treatment for those that just forgot or did not know to validate their ticket.

Johannesburg, South...
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8. Re: Euro 34 fine on tram......another reminder to all travellers

I wasn't singled out and confronted. Last Saturday night appeared to be the night for random checks all over the City of Milan.

The Inspectors stand in groups at specific bus/tram stops (licking their lips). In my case, a group of Inspectors climbed onto the tram and asked each passenger for their ticket. There were only 4 or 5 people on the tram and two of us were taken off.

The other person without a ticket was an Italian lady - the interesting thing was, she did not get the abuse I got.

I did not even mention to him I had already bought a ticket and left it behind (I could see that would not have gone down well) but when I did manage to get a word in, I told him I knew I was in the wrong and asked if it would be possible to pay the 1 euro to the driver - a practice with which I am more familiar.

At no stage was I rude nor aggressive towards him and the entire time he was hurling abuse at me, I stood holding a 50 euro note in my hand wanting to give it to him, pay the fine and get it over with. Therefore, as I mentioned previously, I didn't really see the need for his behaviour, but, I guess it made him feel better.

The reason for the post was simply, if it caught the eye of anyone planning a trip, to ensure that this didn't happen to them. I was in the wrong (not intentionally) and, yes, I got caught. However, the good times I had during my stay outweighed the irritation of this incident.

The moral of the story is, when purchasing public transport tickets, put them in your purse/wallet and not in a pocket of an item of clothing.

Winchester...
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9. Re: Euro 34 fine on tram......another reminder to all travellers

> At no stage was I rude nor aggressive

> towards him

> and the entire time he was hurling abuse at me, I

> stood holding a 50 euro note in my hand

> wanting to

> give it to him, pay the fine and get

> it over with.

> Therefore, as I mentioned previously, I didn't

> really see the need for his behaviour, but, I

> guess it made him feel better.

Something my neighbor, a retired State Trooper (policeman), has taught me to say if I ever find myself in this situation: "You can give me a ticket or you can give me a lecture, BUT YOU CAN'T DO BOTH!" I'm not sure I would have the guts to say this to an Italian ticket inspector although there have been times when I have gotten very aggressive with minor officials (customs inspectors) when I knew I was right, and the situation you were in is exactly what my neighbor warned me about: cops who for whatever reason just want to lecture me, AND fine me.

Anyway, thanks again for the anecdote and I hope it doesn't sour your feelings about Italy or human beings in general. :-)

Durham, United...
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10. Re: Euro 34 fine on tram......another reminder to all travellers

The same thing happened to my friend, we live in Turin and always have weekly or monthly bus passes, of course on this day we were goign snowboarding and my friend had left his wallet (with his ticket in) at home.

The inspectors work in groups so that they can cover all entrances and exits of the tram and check all the passengers before the next stop.

That said, the inspectors when my friend received his fine were not rude in anyway and on occasions I have experienced leniency when (genuine) mistakes have been made when we first arrived in Italy, such as not realising we had to validate the ticket.

The method of pre bought tickets is very handy most of the time, but very annoying when you have a ticket but have genuinely forgotten it, the right thing to do is to buy a new single ticket if you have realised your mistake before boarding, but if it is late or a Sunday and there is nowhere to buy another ticket, what are you supposed to do then?