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mutuelles des fraudeurs
June 23, 2010 11:41 AM   Subscribe

Paris Metro's cheaters say solidarity is the ticket. Scofflaws who jump the turnstiles or enter through the exits of the Paris public transit system have formed mutuelles des fraudeurs — insurance funds that pay the fine if they get caught.
posted by hat (67 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
It is an amazing time to be an economist.
posted by GuyZero at 11:47 AM on June 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


It seems like the obvious solution is to raise the fine. Disincentivize the mutuelles. I guess alternatively, go after the mutuelles for conspiracy of some form, but I gather that'd be harder.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:51 AM on June 23, 2010


This is impressive. On the one hand it pisses me off because I pay a good chunk of change for the privilege of NYC's slowly-crumbling MTA system -- I might've taken it to high school every morning, but I'm still convinced the G train is a mass hallucination. On the other hand, if they get this database together and get enough people with sense to work the system, they ride for free. If the economy over there is as shitty as it is in NYC, and the fare consumes as much money as it does here (for as little in return), more power to them.
posted by griphus at 11:54 AM on June 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Couldn't holding a policy be construed as intent to commit a crime?
posted by stoneweaver at 11:55 AM on June 23, 2010


No links, but a friend reported on a similar scheme in Vienna at least 10 - 12 years ago.
posted by kipmanley at 11:57 AM on June 23, 2010


I jumped Paris turnstiles until I foolishly tried on La nuit blanche. An undercover cop was waiting on the other side and quickly got 50 euros from me.
posted by Dia Nomou Nomo Apethanon at 11:59 AM on June 23, 2010


But for Gildas, a rebel whose unshaven cheeks, longish hair and John Lennon glasses seem straight out of French central casting

Oh, mia-ou.
posted by Spatch at 12:00 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


But for many of these fraudeurs, cheating the system and forming a co-op isn't just about saving money; it's about striking a blow against a capitalist state that favors the haves over the have-nots. Fare dodgers of the world, unite!

"It's a way to resist together," declared Gildas, 30, a leader of the mutuelle movement. "We can make solidarity."


So some individuals take a big risk in order to gain a small profit, but hedge against that risk by purchasing insurance. Where have I heard of this before? Of yeah, that's right: here, right in the belly of the capitalist beast.
posted by googly at 12:01 PM on June 23, 2010 [5 favorites]


Couldn't holding a policy be construed as intent to commit a crime?

Wikipedia has a a brief treatment on the subject of criminal liability insurance. It seems like most place this would be illegal.
posted by pwnguin at 12:01 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Couldn't holding a policy be construed as intent to commit a crime?

It probably depends on what the status of the fine is - if it's a regulatory breach, or criminal, or what.

I expect, though, that the hard part will be finding them.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:05 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


But for Gildas, a rebel whose unshaven cheeks, longish hair and John Lennon glasses seem straight out of French central casting

French central casting ... circa 1967?
posted by blucevalo at 12:12 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


> But for many of these fraudeurs, cheating the system and forming a co-op isn't just about saving money; it's about striking a blow against a capitalist state that favors the haves over the have-nots.

Right on, brother! Public transit is the purest expression of capitalist greed, so fuck the man, man.

Give me a break. What a bunch of assholes. There isn't a commons in the world people like this can't turn into a tragedy.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:14 PM on June 23, 2010 [49 favorites]


Every rebel is a closet aristocrat.
posted by fatbird at 12:16 PM on June 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


We need something like this for speeders in the US. Since there doesn't seem to be any interest in premium/tiered licensing in government. Too much revenue in arbitrary speed limits and questionable speed cameras!
posted by Eideteker at 12:16 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apparently the have been doing this in Mumbai for a long time
posted by hubs at 12:20 PM on June 23, 2010


fatbird: "Every rebel is a closet aristocrat."

Eventually their "mutuelles des fraudeurs" will become a bureaucracy-laden nightmare with premiums that will be more expensive than paying the fare. Something like that, right?
posted by charred husk at 12:21 PM on June 23, 2010


I've hopped the turnstiles in Paris and got caught. A wrote this in a comment years ago, but on my last day in Paris after studying there for four months, I was running to the metro to catch a train to Prague. As soon as I entered using my unlimited Carte Orange, I exited the metro to make a hurried phone call (to get the contact info for my place in Prague), and couldn't wait the 15 more minutes to reuse my card. My train was leaving in a few minutes. So, I did what I had seen dozens of French do all the time: hop the turnstile.

Lo and behold I was stopped by a undercover cop. "Surely I would miss my train and be stuck who knows where for New Years. Not only that, but my visa had expired because I never got my "Dispense Temporaire de Carte de Sejour." I pleaded my case with the man in my broken language skills. Luckily French cops are pretty cool about stuff like that to a young student traveler.

I hopped on the train as it was literally pulling away.
posted by yeti at 12:21 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Give me a break. What a bunch of assholes. There isn't a commons in the world people like this can't turn into a tragedy.

Without knowing much about the offenders here, I don'thave a problem with people jumping the turnstiles if they can't afford the fare. I'm not sure if it's an official policy here or not, but in Vancouver even our City bus drivers let people skip out on fare if they can't afford it. You see it all the time, homeless people often just get on and ask the driver "can I get a ride?"

But yeah, if they have money to pool together for an "insurance policy", and all pay "premiums" or whatever, perhaps you could just put that money towards buying transit passes for the poor or something?
posted by Kirk Grim at 12:28 PM on June 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Eventually their "mutuelles des fraudeurs" will become a bureaucracy-laden nightmare with premiums that will be more expensive than paying the fare. Something like that, right?

It's actually an observation by Frank Herbert from God Emperor of Dune that I've found very applicable. A rebel has the ruling class mindset: "society should run the way I think it should run, and as the one making the rules I'm free to break rules that don't match mine." The only difference between the rebel and the out-of-the-closet aristocrat is that the former is out of power.

But you're right that the first thing a rebel does is make clubhouse rules--their own little fiefdom where they're actually in power--and that it soon falls prey to exactly the same problem as the larger clubhouse, which is that the rules take on a life of their own against which people later rebel.

My favourite line from the article:
"It's a system that functions on trust," Gildas explained, with no hint of irony.
posted by fatbird at 12:34 PM on June 23, 2010 [10 favorites]


Oddly enough, it never really occurred to me until now that this is how the term "free rider" came about.
posted by jasonhong at 12:42 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Too bad there's nobody from Paris here to comment. I'm just a frequent visitor.

Anyways, from my frequent visits, turnstile jumping seems to be an Art, an underground Parkour. I recall about to head up the escalators to exit once and seeing a bunch of kids reverse on the up escalator. One ran down the up escalator. Another does a half-slide down the moving banister. Strange, we thought. Sure enough, at the top of the escalator are policemen checking for tickets.

I somehow doubt this is just about not being able to afford a fare.
posted by vacapinta at 12:42 PM on June 23, 2010


On my first visit to Paris, I was walking in the Metro past an exit only gate and a man said something to me in French which I guess was can you open the gate for me. But I kept walking only to hear him screaming FUCK YOU! YOU FUCK! at me. Welcome to Paris!
posted by birdherder at 12:43 PM on June 23, 2010


It's actually an observation by Frank Herbert from God Emperor of Dune that I've found very applicable. A rebel has the ruling class mindset: "society should run the way I think it should run, and as the one making the rules I'm free to break rules that don't match mine."

As Dr. Horrible says, he wants "Anarchy – that I run."
posted by kmz at 12:43 PM on June 23, 2010


Eventually their "mutuelles des fraudeurs" will become a bureaucracy-laden nightmare with premiums that will be more expensive than paying the fare. Something like that, right?

It's actually an observation by Frank Herbert from God Emperor of Dune that I've found very applicable.

Where else do people notice and write about this or similar themes? I feel like I should examine my motivations for all my little daydreamed schemes that I never actually implement.
posted by zeek321 at 12:43 PM on June 23, 2010


Couldn't holding a policy be construed as intent to commit a crime?

For infractions like turnstile-jumping, intent is likely irrelevant. Either you paid your fare or you didn't.
posted by applemeat at 12:46 PM on June 23, 2010


But how do you get proud freeloaders to pay in the $8.50 per month?
posted by applemeat at 12:48 PM on June 23, 2010


I live in Toronto, where public transit is crazy expensive, and I really don't have an issue with homeless people getting a free ride every now and again. The problem is that for every person (represented here by X) who legitimately cannot afford a fare you're gonna have X + God Knows How Many people hopping on for kicks or because they just don't like paying for things and you're right back in tragedy of the commons territory.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:55 PM on June 23, 2010


"It's a system that functions on trust," Gildas explained, with no hint of irony.

See, this is the thing that I wonder about. Maybe it's just my American litigious nature speaking, but there seems to be a lot of risk involved in joining such an organization. If they refused to pay out, what recourse would you have?

Although from a social capital perspectve, this is really a fascinating case study. The monthly meetings probably build a lot of shared trust, without which such an organization would not work.
posted by lunasol at 12:56 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was just in Paris for the first time. I saw two people very casually slip under, and over the turn style to the Metro. They just didn't care. People were everywhere and saw it.

In Chicago, it's extremely rare, and I take the subway here all the time.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:59 PM on June 23, 2010


So how do you keep people from mocking up fines and receipts to collect money from the mutuel?
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:01 PM on June 23, 2010


I'm trying to think of other illegal activities where the pay-out is small enough, and the risk of getting caught is low enough that a cooperative would work. Speeding tickets are one, but I'm hard pressed to come up with another.
posted by codacorolla at 1:02 PM on June 23, 2010


This probably wouldn't work in Seattle.

Our Link Light Rail system is an honor system, but there's three things that would make 'insurance' against fare evasion really impractical, really quickly:

1. The fine? $124. Enough to make it sting.

2. The Fare Enforcement Guards check often. I ride the Light Rail every day, and I'd say that I get checked one out of every six or seven rides. It's so often that I've heard fare scammers (on the bus) complain about it, and they just avoid the train.

3. You get caught without your fare? You get escorted off at the next stop - no questions asked. Then, the guards either make you buy a ticket at the ticket machine for the ride you just took, or they write you a citation. Maybe both. So, if you're going from the Airport to Downtown Seattle and you get caught early on, it's being stranded in Tukwila for you. I think that alone would be motivation not to cheat the system.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:13 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


in Vancouver even our City bus drivers let people skip out on fare if they can't afford it. You see it all the time, homeless people often just get on and ask the driver "can I get a ride?"

In Toronto the reason this happens is that the driver's union prohibits drivers from ejecting passengers in the name of the driver's safety. There's literally no penalty for not paying your fare.
posted by GuyZero at 1:13 PM on June 23, 2010


The Card Cheat: There isn't a commons in the world people like this can't turn into a tragedy.

Happily, if they raise the fines and/or step up enforcement such that expected cost of being a fradeur exceeds the cost of a ticket, this commons is going to do just fine.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 1:19 PM on June 23, 2010


I was an obsessive fare-dodger when I was 18, on account of being dirt poor -- like, no cash to buy a $44 monthly pass poor. In pre-CharlieCard Boston, you could wave an expired pass at the fare agent and walk through the gate (the magnetic strips were unreliable, so a lot of legitimate passes were used this way). I did this about 200 times and was caught once. I was merely forced to begrudgingly pay the $1.25. I've been back to Boston since and noticed punky kids tailgating through the swinging-gate stiles, which make a loud noise when they catch you but don't do much else.

Way back when, I saw a burly guy BEND BACK a full-height iron maiden gate at JFK/UMass and walk through. That was an impressive feat.

The iron maiden at Hynes/ICA's Newbury Street exit-only gate would permit backwards entry without force from 2004-2005.

The coin dispensers on the Green Line frequently jammed, so you could just drop in any amount.

The 6:20 train to Providence was so crowded the conductor never took your ticket.

In Montreal you could slip your magnetic ticket halfway into the vacuum machine and then extricate it for re-use.

It's a science!

Later I lived in New York, where nobody seems to jump the turnstiles. Or if they did they're so good I didn't notice. You can still usually get on the Bx12 at the back door though. (Now I pay my fares like a non-broke adult should.)
posted by zvs at 1:27 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


In Chicago, it's extremely rare, and I take the subway here all the time.

Yeah I was just going to ask about this. I'm also in Chicago, and I've almost never seen it, but it seems to be fairly common in Paris (I also haven't seen it in London or New York, although I haven't spent much time in either). Is the Paris fare extremely high, or is there just a culture of turnstile hopping for whatever reason?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:30 PM on June 23, 2010


Turnstile jumping though, how can you do it and not draw attention to yourself?

I had some co-workers that worked out some sneaky scams for the trains in Japan. One was that if you carry a bag or jacket, you can have it hang low so that it passes in front of the sensor beam while the person ahead of you is going through the gate, and follow closely behind them so that the beam remains broken and the gate doesn't lock up on you.

The other one was for people with longer commutes, but I'm told this one no longer works since some kind of upgrade to the transit passes and scanning devices. You could get monthly passes with a set start and end point for a price that reflected the distance between the start and end stations. My coworkers used to buy 2 passes rather than 1. Instead of one pass to go from Station A to Station G, they would buy a pass for Station A to Station B and then one from Station F to Station G, effectively cutting out stations C-E out of the price of their commute completely.

By far the easiest was to just act like a big dumb foreigner, looking lost and confused. Even the station attendants wave you through if they think it's gonna be too much effort to explain the system to some big idiot who can't speak Japanese.
posted by Kirk Grim at 1:32 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


There isn't a commons in the world people like this can't turn into a tragedy.

Ah, but zat is ze way ze cookie, she is crumbling, no? My heart, it makes ze bleeding for you.
posted by dephlogisticated at 1:37 PM on June 23, 2010


Agg, lost my comment. Swedish planka.nu has info in many languages, and links to the international free transport movement.
posted by Iteki at 1:37 PM on June 23, 2010


Where else do people notice and write about this or similar themes? I feel like I should examine my motivations for all my little daydreamed schemes that I never actually implement.

It's actually a major theme of God Emperor of Dune, where the tyrannical Leto deliberately fosters rebellion and then co-opts the successful leaders as needed (meaning the ones he didn't kill). They've trained themselves to rule, and all he needs to do to co-opt them is to demonstrate that he'll take the best of what their rebellion offers and make them an actual member of the ruling class, if they become sensitized to his "golden path".
posted by fatbird at 1:52 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh my god. This pisses me off.
posted by millipede at 1:56 PM on June 23, 2010


My, what an ingenious way to compile a handy list of scofflaws.

I mean, duh. If this doesn't end in mass arrests, I'd be awfully surprised.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:57 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


where the tyrannical Leto deliberately fosters rebellion and then co-opts the successful leaders as needed (meaning the ones he didn't kill).

God Emperor is maybe my favorite of all the (original, can't speak to the post Frank abomi additions) Dune books. I feel the need to point out that he isn't so much co-opting them by appealing to the rebel eliltism. He gets them to sense his prescient and certain knowledge that if humanity doesn't follow his path humanity ends full stop; Hunted down by mechanical killing machines until human kind is extinct.
posted by Babblesort at 2:01 PM on June 23, 2010


I feel the need to point out that he isn't so much co-opting them by appealing to the rebel eliltism. He gets them to sense his prescient and certain knowledge

Yes, but at one point he tells Duncan directly (in the same conversation in which he says the rebels are closet aristocrats) that you co-opt by, in part, demonstrating that you'll use them. He further says that underlying that ruling class mindset is a fairly simple lust for power and sense of righteousness. By showing them his prescient vision of humanity's future, he overwhelms their righteousness with his own, and then gives them the power to act on their righteousness, which is what they wanted all along.

At least, that's my interpretation. I've read it about a dozen times and still don't feel like I've gotten everything out of it :)
posted by fatbird at 2:14 PM on June 23, 2010


And they told me the French had no word for entrepreneur....
posted by chavenet at 2:21 PM on June 23, 2010


In London we have tail-gaters who just slip through the gate behind you. It can be quite nice if they're attractive. Get a little frisson on the daily commute ;) That tends not to be the case, however.
posted by Lleyam at 2:24 PM on June 23, 2010


Oh I am agreed. Just felt I needed to defend poor Leto a little bit. If someone hasn't read the book it sounds kinda like Leto just gets off on corrupting people to his devious plan. In actuality he is a hugely sympathetic Christ like figure as he saw the vision of the end of humanity and realized that he had to commit himself to thousands of years of isolation and being hated in order to stave off that future.

Herbert makes a similarly profound statement about free will and democracy in Chapterhouse Dune. Mother Superior Odrade commits the entire Bene Gesserit to servitude to the Honored Matres based on her experience with Murbella. She has exactly one data point to back up her belief that the Bene Gesserit approach to education, fully self-actualizing their members and then granting them nearly unfettered autonomy, will over time supplant the Honored Matres from within. She bases this on her experiment with Murbella being turned into a Bene Gesserit before she fully understood what was happening to her. Mostly though, she has a prfound belief that free will and full personhood will win out over fear and fascism when it is made available. She is willing to bet herself, the entire Sisterhood, and multiple planets on that belief.
posted by Babblesort at 2:27 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, the French turnstile hop rampantly. Lyon built their subway using the German turnstile-less honor plus police system, but eventually installed turnstile, totally screwing up their station layouts.

That said, German subway cops travel around alone, thus covering far more ground, while all French cops always travel in massive packs.

Afaik, all these insurance systems keep the buy-in low by cutting you off after one or two tickets, so you cannot save much money over the long term unless enforcement is very lax, and we're not talking a serious danger to the commons.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:29 PM on June 23, 2010


I don't go into Paris much but I know alot of people who jump turnstiles for alot of reasons, mostly due to the time it takes to get a ticket from one of the machines here. They rationalise it by saying that the fine is less than they would have paid had they bought tickets(as they rarely get caught more than once a month) More common is people getting caught without a ticket on busses. If you get caught without a ticket on one of those you get a fine on the spot, if you don't have the cash then they'll march you to an ATM.
posted by MrCynical at 2:31 PM on June 23, 2010


The problem is that for every person (represented here by X) who legitimately cannot afford a fare you're gonna have X + God Knows How Many people hopping on for kicks or because they just don't like paying for things and you're right back in tragedy of the commons territory.

Except there is no tragedy of the commons in public transit, generally the opposite. 99% of the time, that freeloader is not displacing a fare payer, they are simply occupying empty space. Economically speaking this is a net benefit to everyone involved, as transit users benefit when the system is more frequently used: it translates into more frequent service, longer hours, and new routes and increased infrastructure investment. The more people riding the bus, the better.

I think fully subsidizing transit for people under the poverty line is a great idea...heck, I think fully subsidizing transit period is a great idea. It's cheaper than building freeways.
posted by mek at 2:49 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


What about the idea that transportation on mass transit is a right and should be subsidized by property or income or gasoline use taxes?
posted by GregorWill at 2:58 PM on June 23, 2010


I had some co-workers that worked out some sneaky scams for the trains in Japan... Instead of one pass to go from Station A to Station G, they would buy a pass for Station A to Station B and then one from Station F to Station G, effectively cutting out stations C-E out of the price of their commute completely.

It's called kiseru:

"Kiseru (煙管) is a Japanese smoking pipe traditionally used for smoking a very fine, shredded tobacco... Typically the mouth piece and bowl are made from metal, with a shaft of wood or bamboo."

Like the traditional pipe, the fare evasion technique has metal (money) on both ends but none in the middle.

Modern train cards in Japan (like Suika and Passmo) record an entrance time and an exit time. If there's no record of an entrance, you can't exit through the gate. If there's no record of an exit, you can't enter through the gate the next time you try using the card. You'll also be stopped by the gate if the time difference between entrance and exit is unreasonably long.

Getting stopped by the gate is not proof of fare evasion. If you have a believable excuse, station attendants are usually very courteous and won't press the issue.

If you're caught cheating with a train ticket, you will pay the full fare you were supposed to pay plus a penalty of twice the fare (for a total of three times the actual fare). If, on the other hand, you are caught evading fares with a monthly pass, you are charged three times the fare going both ways (or six times the fare) multiplied by the number of days from the day you made the card to the day you were caught. This can get expensive. If the station attendant feels your attempts are particularly malicious, you can be arrested and charged under existing rail laws, under criminal laws (for fraud) and/or sued for damages.

Depending on the fare evasion technique used, other laws can apply. For example, if you force your way through a ticket gate (not impossible) they can claim you damaged the gate and charge you with destruction of property and if you leave the station through an exit intended for staff or subcontractors (people who stock the numerous drink machines, etc.) you can be charged with trespassing.

The most brazen fare evasion technique I've heard of in Japan happened in Kobe, 2002. A "young man wearing red" latched on to the outside of an express train (the area where two cars connect). When the train passed through his station at about 100 to 110km/h (the key word here is passed - it did not stop at his station) he let go of the train. Fortunately, he hit a metal fence at the end of the train platform which absorbed the impact. He got up and left the station as if nothing had happened. The police searched for him and checked hospitals but they never caught him. He saved himself the extra charge for the express, got to where he was going as quickly as humanly possible and pocketed himself a story that will earn him drinks in bars for the rest of his life.
posted by stringbean at 3:00 PM on June 23, 2010 [9 favorites]


> Except there is no tragedy of the commons in public transit, generally the opposite.

My crankiness here is somewhat due to the fact that 70% of the TTC's revenue comes directly from fares, the highest percentage in North America (and it's probably right up there worldwide). If we had a properly-funded (or subsidized) transit system it really wouldn't really be an issue.
posted by The Card Cheat at 3:04 PM on June 23, 2010


Trains want to be free, man! The train was invented over 75 years ago- why should they still profit from it? They can make money by selling t-shirts with a picture of a train on it! Or just do it for the love of transportation!
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:23 PM on June 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


They’re way ahead in Paris. You’ve got kids no older than 3 or 4 years old walking around and they can already speak French.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:26 PM on June 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Obviously the solution would be to detain and repeatedly taze violators, then come up with a post-facto law to rationalize this behavior.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 3:38 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Obviously the solution would be to detain and repeatedly taze violators, then come up with a post-facto law to rationalize this behavior.

This was probably meant as a joke, but I've seen Transit Police tackle a fare evader in the past.

Teen boy gets on train. Sometimes, the Sound Transit Police check for fare evasion instead of security guards. (Sound Transit is the organization that runs these trains.) And they are full on cops, too - guns, handcuffs, etc. Teen boy tries to look nonchalant, and ignores the cops when they started checking for fares. They confront him. "I need to see your ticket, please." "Nope." Then, he goes back to ignoring the cops.

We get to the next station, and the cops inform him that he's getting off with them, for fare evasion. He continues to ignore them. Finally, he gets up and walks with the cops onto the station platform...and then just keeps on going, past the cops. Cops yell at him, he bolts, the cops bolt faster, and it ends with all of them on the ground. Final result - Sound Transit Police 1, surly teenage boy with no ticket - 0.

Do not fuck with Sound Transit.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:01 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


So wish I had traffic ticket insurance
posted by low affect at 4:29 PM on June 23, 2010


Back in the '80s in Tokyo, you'd give your ticket to the ticketmaster when you exited the station, who (I guess) would rapid-scan to make sure it was for that station, then drop it down a hole. We got very good at flicking it under his hand and into the hole, so we always bought the cheapest ticket available (usually about Y110).

Sometimes, just for the hell of it, we'd jump off the platform and run out to the nearest cross-street. I was out in rural Shikoku when I saw a whole bunch of schoolkids do that.

During that same trip, I told a ticketmaster I'd fallen asleep and missed my stop (showing him the cheap ticket I'd bought), and that I was just going to go around to the other side of the station and go back. Y100 for a Y2500 ride...

When I went back in the '90s, they had automated gates, and it was a lot harder to sneak through.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:42 PM on June 23, 2010


Teen boy tries to look nonchalant, and ignores the cops when they started checking for fares.

Fool. The proper move is to reach in your pocket and not find your ticket, then start looking in every pocket, your wallet, etc., while showing great dismay.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:45 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


My crankiness here is somewhat due to the fact that 70% of the TTC's revenue comes directly from fares, the highest percentage in North America (and it's probably right up there worldwide). If we had a properly-funded (or subsidized) transit system it really wouldn't really be an issue.

Is that high percentage evidence that they're underfunded, or that they're overcharging? ($3 for a two-minute train ride? Really?)
posted by Sys Rq at 5:43 PM on June 23, 2010


Relative to comparable transit agencies, the TTC gets less of their total budget from government subsidies.
posted by GuyZero at 5:47 PM on June 23, 2010


Mek:
Except there is no tragedy of the commons in public transit, generally the opposite. 99% of the time, that freeloader is not displacing a fare payer, they are simply occupying empty space. Economically speaking this is a net benefit to everyone involved, as transit users benefit when the system is more frequently used: it translates into more frequent service, longer hours, and new routes and increased infrastructure investment. The more people riding the bus, the better.


Er, if there's more frequent service, with longer hours and new routes and increased infrastructure investment... who pays for that exactly? All those nice things cost money, and the freeloader isn't paying, so I guess that leaves people who pay the fare. I love a good rationalization as much as the next guy, but there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.
posted by Richard Daly at 7:12 PM on June 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


via Scottish Socialist Party Election Broadcast 10/04/07:

All buses leave from the station. The town lines (called H-lijn) have been free for everyone including tourists since Tuesday 1 July 1997. Other bus lines are free for the inhabitants of Hasselt while travelling in the territory of Hasselt.
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_transport_in_Hasselt

see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Zero-fare_transport_services
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:28 PM on June 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


So.

Today I flew into Paris, where I've been living for the last three months, after taking a few days in Budapest. It's about 13 euros to get form the airport to the place I'm staying (at the opposite side of the city), and _none_ of the ticket machines at the airport took bills. My card's been blocked by VISA (isn't travel fun?), so I had to come up with coins...

Turns out there's a transit worker's strike today. It's like a national holiday - "Discover New and Interesting Public Transit Routes Day," I believe is the official title. The line to the airport is the same line my place is on, but the train ended in the center of Paris today. Why would this happen? Because the RER is run by two different companies, who control different halves of the city. So the train on the north side of town stops when it gets to the center. It then turns out that the train south is still running, but only beginning from a stop about five kilometers away. I ended up taking a different train one stop (was in the neighborhood...), switching to the Metro (the in-Paris underground, different from the RER but also a mess today), and then, finally getting to the train south. Which stopped again about five stops short of my stop, at which point all passengers had to exit the train and wait 45 minutes for yet a FOURTH train to come and take us to our destinations.

In some parts of the city the RER gates has simply been opened and helpful people in neon vests were giving people advice and told me not to worry about finding the other 4.50 euros in change necessary to complete my journey. At another place I wandered on the wrong side of a gate and couldn't get back in and was forced to buy a ticket buy the guy in the information booth.

Good. Times.

When I arrived in France, I found my credit/debit card wouldn't work in many machines, because it didn't have the little chip that is on every French card. Germans don't have this chip, the English don't have this chip. Apparently France is the only country in western europe where it makes economic sense to require putting an anti-fraud microchip into every credit card. It was explained to me thus: "The French cheat."
posted by kaibutsu at 1:25 PM on June 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


kaibutsu: Apparently France is the only country in western europe where it makes economic sense to require putting an anti-fraud microchip into every credit card

FWIW we have them in Ireland too!
posted by nfg at 6:39 AM on June 29, 2010


Since people are talking about world cities, just thought I'd put it on record that, contrary to popular imagination, it _is_ possible to beat the faregate system in Singapore's MRT network. Because the authorities think the system is infallible, the cost of getting caught is surprisingly low, but it's a sacred art-form that requires much practice and no, doesn't involve Marchour-style jumping. I'll just leave it at that.
posted by the cydonian at 9:55 PM on July 10, 2010


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