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Kovaks Street Scam Forums • View topic - Metro Ticket Scam in Krakow

Metro Ticket Scam in Krakow

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Metro Ticket Scam in Krakow

Postby KOVAKS on Tue Sep 23, 2008 11:00 am

Contributed by Bart Thielges on August 4th, 2006:

Here's a scam that happened to me in Krakow, Poland. I
boarded a street tram in Nowa Huta heading towards central Krakow. On
these trams you buy tickets from the tobacconist and then validate them
by sticking the ticket into a machine onboard the tram. This time the
validator was not working. I tried another validator - same result.

In abnormal situations like this I usually look around to see what the
locals do and follow their lead. I saw two Polish people do the same
"search for the working validator", then shrug, give up, and sit down.
At about this time the song "come on and take a free ride" started
playing in my head.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

About 20 minutes into the ride two men boarded the tram and immediately
approached me with official looking ticket inspector ID cards. The
first tip off that something was wrong is that they went directly to me,
the obvious traveler in a car full of locals. In broken English they
asked to see my ticket. I explained the best I could through the
language barrier that I had tried to validate my blank ticket, but the
machine was not working. One of the inspectors tried putting his own
ticket into the machine and "chunk !" the validator was now miraculously
working !

They explained that I must accompany them to the police station to pay a
fine of about $60 US. I continued to protest, trying to uphold my
innocence. About 3 minutes later the fine had dropped to about $20 if I
were to cough up the cash on the spot. I kept complaining that the
fault was in their equipment not me who had tried to comply with the
system. Then suddenly a kind lady sitting in front of me intervened.
She spoke to the inspectors in Polish, pointing to several other riders
who had also boarded and were unable to validate their ticket. She
saved the day ! The inspectors relented, parting with "you are free".
The ticket inspectors were trying to exploit my naive demeanor and lack
of Polish language skills to extort a fine. The lady who intervened was
my hero that day.

I got off at the next stop and walked the remaining distance.

Moral of the story : if you board a tram and can't validate your ticket,
get off immediately ! Try the next tram.
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