Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ticketless travelling in Italy

Every network has its own rules - I mean the railway networks of course! In most places, you would buy a ticket from a ticket office and then use it either to enter the station or show it to a ticket collector or not have to use it at all!
The third category comes into play when you consider the volume of people using the Chennai/ Mumbai suburban system.

In Italy, we took a day trip to Pompeii. For our way back, we chose to use the suburban train to get to Naples. We bought our tickets, waited on the platform and got into the train. The train arrived at the station in Naples and we were off to transfer platforms and catch our outbound Eurostar to Rome.

Not so smooth...

Just as we came up the escalator, an officer asked for our tickets. I had thankfully not thrown away the tickets and showed it to him. He looked at me with a smile and said - these are not valid! With that and a deft show of his baton, he guided us to the side of the walkway. I explained that we had bought these tickets just before boarding the train. The officer noted that our tickets were not stamped by the clocking machine at the station. Since we did not have the necessary time stamp, we were essentially ticketless. He also summoned his senior officer in the meantime.

Within a minute, the senior guy came over, took one look at us, turned to the first officer and asked him to let us go. The officer then smiled and mentioned that we were lucky to have had that particular guy come over - he is the "nice" guy - he said.

So, with that, lesson learnt as to how to use the ticket in Italy, we were on our merry way...

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