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O bratislavských revízoroch

16 July 2009 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in crime | 3 Comments »

When I ride the public transport in Bratislava, I try to do so načierno (“on the black”), meaning without paying.

Argue with me all you like about the ethics of this. I’ll probably just ignore it. Fact is, the company that provides public transport is a state-protected monopoly, and riding black is one of the ways I employ to recover the money stolen from me via VAT and other taxes.

Covert photography

Covert photography

When you ride black, you have to keep your eyes open for the ticket inspectors. They’re almost always out there, but there aren’t too many of them. I can usually spot them based on their demeanor and behavior, even if I don’t know how the specific person looks.

When I’m feeling lazy or tired or stressed or when I have a phone call going when I get on the bus or tram, though, I punch a ticket. If I’m not fully on the alert, I’m liable to miss spotting the inspectors.

Here are a couple I met the other day. Both very grumpy looking men. Funny thing, they even forgot to check my ticket, which I did have punched and in hand, since I knew I wasn’t on the alert that time. Good thing, too.

Overt photography

Overt photography

I snapped the dude in the close-up several times. When he finally looked at me, I snapped him again square on. I’m not quite sure what restrained him, but it was rather obvious from his facial expressions, words and body language that he would have liked to break my neck. “What are you doing?” he asked, and I just smiled, waving goodbye as the bus left him and his colleague behind at a stop. I heard him ask his colleague something to the effect of, “Is this asshole allowed to take pictures of me?” and the response came back as a shrug.

Additional fun can be had with public transport ticket inspectors in cities with a “punch pre-purchased ticket on board vehicle” payment system like Bratislava’s. If the inspectors start a check, and you have your trip ticket paid for and punched, just start yelling: “Kontrola! Revízor! Kontrola! Revízor!” and make a panicked dash for an exit. Of course, you’ll immediately draw the attention of the entire vehicle’s occupants, plus both inspectors. In addition to causing a bit of merry, harmless chaos, this may open a window for other načierno comrades to slip away undetected.

  1. 3 Responses to “O bratislavských revízoroch”

  2. By Nick on 17 July 2009

    Finally a piece of writing which describes the world of public transportation in Bratislava. We could talk for hours about this stuff, maybe even write a book. Its just so much fun :)

  3. By Arto Bendiken on 17 July 2009

    Excellent :-)

    Back in Finland, inspectors are generally easy to spot as they are, invariably, women dressed in a certain kind of red coat (not quite a uniform, but distinguishing if you’ve seen them a few times).

    Unfortunately, they always have muscle along (big body-builder types, dressed in civilian clothes), so by the time you spot them boarding the tram from the front, it may sometimes be too late to escape, as the muscle will be boarding from the other exit and will be on the lookout for people in an uncharacteristic hurry to exit…

  4. By L.A.Hassett on 17 July 2009

    I remember going ticketless in Bratislava with a pushchair and heavy luggage in tow.
    It was edge-of-your-seat stuff I can tell you :P


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