Sunday, December 7, 2008

Public Transportation and The Inspector!!!

There are four modes of public transportation here in Riga: bus, auto-bus, trolley and train. I've ridden all but the auto-bus, which is a van that you can take more directly to your destination, as opposed to getting on at a bus/trolley/train stop and getting off at a bus/train/trolley stop. Each time you get on one of these conveyances, you have to have a ticket punched in a "time-clock" machine. Twice now an inspector has come on board. Both times have been a woman. She boards, puts a ticket in the time-clock, and then flips out her badge and begins checking everyone's tickets to make sure they have punched them.

So far I haven't seen anyone confronted who did not have a ticket punched, but once I saw a young woman punch her ticket just as she got off. I asked Sister Harper about that and she said the woman thought the inspector was getting off at the same stop (and hadn't gotten to her to check her ticket) and didn't want to be stopped outside the bus with an unpunched ticket.

Another time a young man had been on the bus and hadn't punched his ticket. He saw the inspector boarding (perhaps noticed her badge under her jacket somehow, or maybe just thought she looked like an inspector. Anyway, he came and punched his ticket just ahead of the inspector and got by with it. Apparently, some take a chance that there won't be an inspector board the bus while they are on, and they don't punch their ticket.

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