Friday, April 13, 2012

A fare jumper gets what's due

Submitted by Matt

Was on the 5:15 Union-Georgetown last night.  I was enjoying my commuter-snooze until we approached Malton Station, and the GOstapo fare inspectors walked by and brushed my arm, waking me up.  The train was still pretty full, as (in my estimation) over half of the capacity de-trains at Bramalea.  I reached for my presto card and held it ready, figuring they’d be back shortly to check it.  A minute passes, and nothing happens, so I put my card away.  Sure enough, they come back almost immediately after I put my card back in my wallet (fuckers!).  When it’s my turn, I scan my card, so does the lady diagonally from me, and the other 2 in my quad are using paper passes (one was an adult monthly pass).  The holdout was a student sitting directly across from me, using a 10-ride pass.

I knew something was up almost immediately when she handed the Gostapo her student card first, and kept her 10-ride pass (that appeared to be in such rough shape that I initially thought it was fake) in her hand.  Sensing something exciting about to go down, I paused my music but left my earbuds in so it wasn’t obvious that I was eavesdropping.  The dude then asked her for her pass, which she meekly held up for him to see, which he then quickly took from her hand and scrutinized.  At first he seemed confused, focusing on the fact that the fares were punched on a GO Bus, not the train.  The conversation went something like this:

GOstapo: “How did you get downtown today?”

Girl: “I take the bus.”

GOstapo: “How do you normally get home?”

Girl: “I usually take the bus.”

GOstapo: “You take the GO bus?”

Girl: “Usually, yes.”

GOstapo: “Every day?”

Girl: “Yes.”

*GOstapo guy is smelling blood at this point.  Girl sticks to her “take the bus home” story while simultaneously attempting to muddy the waters with excuses about today, hoping to get off with a warning.*

GOstapo: “You have only been cancelling this ticket once a day – in the mornings.  I don’t know how you are getting home, but you have not been using this ticket to do it.”

Girl: “I normally take the bus home, so that’s why I forgot to cancel my ticket today for the train.”

GOstapo: (unimpressed) “That doesn’t explain why you have no cancelled fares for the ride home for the rest of this week; you are only paying in the morning.  Do you take the train home every night and forget to cancel your ticket each time?”

Girl: (defeated look comes across her face)

GOstapo: “Can I see a piece of ID please?”

Me: *Yesssssssssssssssss!*

He proceeded to then issue her a fine, and explain her options of either paying the fine or disputing it, and it was all “explained on the back”.  The girl actually tried to read the fine print, as though there would be some amnesty clause for entitled students who don’t feel like paying their already-discounted fares.  It was a good time.  It was nice to see a GOstapo using their brains instead of buying at face value whatever bullshit line these fare-skippers are selling them.


Anonymous said...


Squiggles said...


Finally, they are catching on and no longer doing the whole warning thing! Which never works.

Bicky said...

Happy to read that she got a ticket. But! I have been on the losing end of a fare inspection.

Back in 2007, I'm just about into Whitby when I get asked. I always bought a monthly pass. Go to take my pass out and realize it's now October and I still have September's pass there. Yikes! I tell the guy I forgot it was a new month and that I usually buy a pass (showed him my old ones) and to just write me the ticket - handing over my ID. As this is happening, my nerves are showing and I'm breaking out in red blotches all over my neck and it's creeping up my face. He must have taken pity on me, as he ended up giving me a formal warning.

I still keep it in my wallet as a reminder. Haven't forgotten since!

AngelSil said...

Basically had the same thing happen on the 10:43 LSW last night. FOOTRIDER chilling with his laptop when the PO PO arrive. Same line of questioning. GOstapo ask him why he's only cancelling 'sporadically' if he's riding to/from Oakville every day.

Suddenly, the footrider is a student who DOESN'T go into Toronto every day, etc. etc. The dirty footrider had the nerve to outright ask 'Can't you just give me a warning?'.

GOstapo had none of it. Fine was issued. My heart lifted just a bit that night.

C.J. Smith said...

Bicky, me too.

However, the fare jumpers need punishment. Otherwise those of us who faithfully tap and punch everyday are subsidizing these thieves and that's not "fare".

In my case, my Presto load didn't activate within the 24 hour window. The officer wasn't in any mood to listen to my plight and issued the warning.

I waged an impressive letter campaign and was able to get the warning removed from file. Presto was in its infancy at the time and I felt I was unfairly penalized for its technical shortcomings.

Bicky said...

Oh I agree... if they don't pay their fare, then they pay the fine.

Once my mother was on the train, and the GO cop asked this woman sitting across from her for her ticket. This woman was dressed to the nines (fur coat, hair and makeup perfect, etc.) and she said she didn't have to pay. That the Government of Ontario provides this rail service so it's free. (Wha?)

My mother nearly fell off her seat.

I am sure the GO cops have heard every excuse in the book.

lswgirl13 said...

Love your Mom's story Bicky!
I have a confession - I got caught up in that LSW mess on Tuesday and ONCE AGAIN GO's back-up plan was no plan at all! I had already swiped my PRESTO card so I decided to reward myself the next morning with a free ride. Considering it took me 3 hours to get home I figured my time is worth something. So there, I'm a baaaaad person.

Anonymous said...

CJ, the GOstapo who issued your warning later admitted to other GO employees that you were in the right. Warms the heart doesn't it?

C.J. Smith said...

I don't think that fare jump makes you a bad person. It makes you an angry customer.

It's not our fault there is inadequate fencing or security measures in place to keep those who can't understand the dangers of walking on a train track, off the tracks.

At the same time, GO isn't given a courtesy call from those about to commit suicide that thousands of people are about to go nowhere fast.

GO has never really had a plan for these scenarios and doesn't seem to care to even though they do and will happen. These aren't one-off events.

I think a courtesy ride the next morning isn't unreasonable.

C.J. Smith said...

re: my presto woe

He was just doing his job. It wasn't his fault Presto is a b*tch.

lswgirl13 said...

I appreciate the support C.J. I was an angry customer and it's sad that a young girl died (still don't know how you can not hear a train though), but GO has to be better prepared for handling a rush hour situation.
I felt guilty about not swiping . . . for about 2 seconds! I just felt like being a rebel. That sad, I do love that perhaps the GOstapo are finally getting it!!!

Anonymous said...

Great story but can we stop using a nickname for the GO Transit ticket checkers which is based on the state secret police of Nazi Germany... :/

Anonymous said...

Thank you Anonymous!!! I was wondering when someone was going to say that! Compairing GO Enforcement to the monsters who murdered millions during WW2 is highly insulting and shows the name caller as being HIGHLY insensitive and lacking in knowledge.

sarah said...

I don't think anything malicious was meant. At least no one's calling the Transit Safety Officers GO S.S.

Relax. It's not meant to be offensive.

mumzthewurd said...

I had the same thing happen as Bicky. During the crazy period between Nov and Dec I forgot the month had changed. I handed my Nov pass over and was confused when he asked if I had a Dec pass. I got a ticket and had to take a day off to go and argue that it was an honest mistake. I showed all my previous passes (which I had even before they were tax deductable) Plus I now had the correct pass so they weren't out any money.
Trouble is the fine is the same whether you've made a single mistake or you've been riding free all month.

Anonymous said...

Oh so we can start referring to people by derogatory names as long as we don't mean to cause offense?

Awesome, I'll see how well that goes over at work.

AngelSil said...

I called them the GOstapo and I have a degree in Holocaust Studies. I'm not ignorant, but I also can find humor in the term. Some people need to lighten up.

lswgirl13 said...

I'm with you AngelSil. Geez people, aren't you a little tired of being so politically correct? I can't keep up with what we can or can't say anymore.

Anonymous said...

So calling the Transit Officers GOstapo is a term of endearment? I wonder if they would see it that way.

I could be misinterpreting some comments, but to me the term is meant to be disrespectful, otherwise why use it. You want some way of criticizing the officers because of the impression they are not doing their job or not doing it effectively. Isn't there a better way to criticize them without invoking such strong imagery?

Anonymous said...

I guess GO rent-a-cops sounds more politically correct...

lswgirl13 said...

When I say GOstapo I don't think Auschwitz. Seriously political correctness has gotten out of control. I supposed you don't think the Seinfeld Soup Nazi episode is funny then?

ExGOnowTTC said...

To be historically anal, the Gestapo had nothing to do with Auschwitz. That was the SS. The Gestapo were the guys in leather coats and hats that said "ve hav vays of making you talk!"

lswgirl13 said...

hahaha . . . Thanks for being historically anal!

C.J. Smith said...

Someone had to be.

It was getting a little annoying...

Anonymous said...

Not to feed the fire or anything but most of the stories seem to actually put GOstapo in a positive light, everyone admits they're just doing their jobs (and seem to be doing them well). I don't use GO often, maybe once or twice a week taking LSE to Union, but knowing that the Special Constables (I think that's their lefit title) are religiously persecuting fare jumpers gives me warm fuzzy feelings inside. If everyone using the service paid for it fares would go down and Metrolinx would actually be profitable! Think of a Crown corporation making money!

They could afford to buy the GOstapo some seriously bad trench coats!