Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ticket Inspector Bullies


The other day a good friend of mine was traveling on a train. She was tired and decided to rest her legs on a metal bar which sat beneith the seat in front of her. The ticket inspector passed and noticed her feet on this bar and without warning or even asking her to take her feet down, issued her a fine and threatened to have her arrested. The way they spoke to her was dispicable and had she not been so shook up by the whole process, she would have likely called the police herself for the way she had been treated. This was not some teenager causing a riot on a train, this was a twenty-something IT professional who was commuting for work purproses. Had she been asked to take her feet off the metal bar, she would have done so immediately and yet she hadn't and now faces a penalty.

Wind back a few months, I was traveling from Manchester to Leeds. A gentleman in the seat behind me gave a printed out confirmation receipt from his email to the ticket inspector after the ticket machine in Manchester had not worked. The Network Rail representative in Manchester had told the gentleman to just get on the train as he would miss his connection and to just explain to the ticket inspector. The ticket inspector did not believe the gentleman, despite him having full confirmation printed out with him. He demanded another ticket or he would have him arrested at Leeds station.

Last year, my friend's boyfriend traveled from London to Manchester. There were two trains departing at the same time and he accidentally got on the wrong one. Easy mistake. When the inspector inspected his ticket, he informed him he had got the wrong one and demanded he pay a full fair up to Manchester which cost over £100 because his ticket was not valid on this train, despite it being the same train company and was obviously an easy mistake to be made.

A few months before that, another friend of mine was traveling from Hull to Leeds. It was late at night, he was exhausted and had fallen asleep on the train and woke up in Manchester. He quickly got on the return train to Leeds and tried explaining his fault to the inspector who demanded he buys another ticket. My friend had no money on him at all and he had left his debit card at home. The inspector demanded he got off at Stockport or once again would be arrested. My friend pleaded with the driver explaining that if he got off at Stockport he would have no way of getting home and would have no where to stay. He would have had to have slept rough. He showed his ticket, showing the exact times he bought the ticket which would show he would have had to have got off and back on again in seconds to prove his mistake. The inspector continued to push my friend to buy a ticket and once again threatened him with the police. My friend had no choice and so he called his bluff on his threat of the police. The inspector instead of calling the cops went over to the tannoy and told the passengers that train would not be moving until my friend had got off, hoping that the passengers would begin an angry mob to get my friend off the train, unfortunately for the inspector it backfired and the angry mob was actually turned around onto the inspector and the train service who eventually had to set off.

These are just four of many stories I hear frequently. Who the hell are these bullies from these train companies? Who do they think they are? They would allow someone to remain homeless for the night or to be fined ludicrous fines because of innocent mistakes. They threaten with the police because the majority of people would respond to that, but clearly they know the police have more important cases on their hands. They resort to angry passengers to force these people off the trains. They are bullies, pure and simple, on a power trip. With rising fair tickets, the train companies are forgetting how much the public pay for this service and forget that we are customers. We get crushed on a daily basis on busy services because the companies will not provide an extra carriage. The facilities are a joke and the journey is pure hell. And yet we pay high prices for these poor facilities and are made to feel guilty for using them.

I want to put a stop to these Ticket Inspector bullies. I know we have to stop fair dodgers and yes if people are generally causing a nuscience on a train then sort it out. But don't try and send your message through the punishment of good, hard working people who just want to get from A to B and just want to get home and have paid to use the rubbish service this country provides. They threaten us with the police but evidence has shown that actually they are bluffing. I ask everyone to stand up to these nasty power-mad imbeciles. Call their bluff! Let them try and arrest you! You are in the right and these companies need to know that we are the customer and they cannot force us to be out of pocket because of innocent mistakes! I am not asking to cause a riot; no way. I'm not suggesting you break the law; far from it! But don't bend over and take it if these petty people demand us to be fined and treated poorly for innocent mistakes! I will happily face being arrested for any of the above incidents and I will happily meet them in court if it means an end to the disgusting way they treat us!

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