What to do if you get off the train at Queenstown road to discover that SouthWest Trains are having one of their periodic ticket inspections and you don’t actually have a ticket? Well, you could simply buy a ticket from the ticket machine before you get to the inspectors and hope they don’t notice. Or you could throw yourself on their mercy with an elaborate tale of lost wallets, broken ticket machines and dying grandmothers and see if they’ll let you off. Or if you’re the chap I saw this evening you can just walk past the ticket inspectors as though they aren’t there and barge straight out of the station.
The ticket guys had a good go at stopping him – after he’d blown off the first one, the second ran after him and had a second try but they didn’t seem either willing or able to actually lay hands on him. I’m guessing that unless the police are there too they can’t actually physically detain someone. But this seems a bit odd. Isn’t it stealing to take a train journey without paying for it? Couldn’t they do a citizen’s arrest? Or was it the fact that he was shaven headed, as wide as he was tall and heavily tattooed that gave them pause?
Either way, I think they should re-record my least favourite of the SWT tannoy messages to reflect the new reality:
You must buy a ticket before you get on one of our trains. If you can not show a valid ticket when you are asked, you may have to pay a penalty fare. Unless of course you don’t want to. And are a bit scary. Thank you.