Friday, June 11, 2010

They DO check your tickets

When my sister Carla was last here in Lausanne she was very surprised to find that in Switzerland there are many life activities that are based on trust and that people do as they should. For example, we went out and parked our car in a "blue zone" where you can park for 1 hour for free. In order to do this, you need to display a blue card indicating the time of arrival. Now, my sister was puzzled: how does that work? what if you put a later time to get more time? etc. So I explained how it worked and that sometimes there is a parking man who will do some checks and that you could get a fine, but that a lot of times places go unchecked and it is down to people to be honest. OK ... she looked at me in awe ... (I totally understood her, having had the same reaction when I moved away from my country!) but people change!

We then got on a bus and bought the tickets in the electronic kiosks at the bus stop. She got her ticket and tried to give it to the driver. She and I laughed when the driver looked at her quizzically!? Same thing, the driver will not check, you only need to keep it as proof in case there is a "surprise check". Ahhhh, ok, said Carla. The entire journey she was waiting for the famous "surprise check" ... it never happened.

In fact, I have ridden buses in Lausanne many times and I have never been checked. Sometimes I get a little tempted to be mischievous (or maybe it is that I am really not used to this whole TRUST thing) and want to try going without a ticket. Just to see if I can make it, will they actually do a check in a bus? I have never seen it! They check the metro, they CHECK the trains, but buses?? too many I thought, no way. But still I bought my ticket and of course there were no checks.

A couple of days ago I decided to take Sebastian for a walk downtown Lausanne. We were going without the stroller, so I figured it would be better to take the bus and maximise Sebastian's walking time. After our stroll and a stop at the toy-store (for a donkey a goose and a sheep), we decided to head back home (again by bus). Now a little note here: in Lausanne you can buy a cheaper short-distance ticket (court parcour), which allows you a maximum of 3 stops from your departure point. We got our court parcour ticket since our stop was exactly the third down from the center and got on the bus.

Right before our stop, I try to get Sebastian ready but he's too busy chatting to the grandpa (I mean this in the nicest way, there was a sweet old man sitting next to us). I am already loaded, carrying our shopping and flowers, so I call Sebas but of course he does not move. The doors open, the people get out and I am still frantically pulling and trying to get Sebastian out. Of course the doors close and off we go. Missed our stop... Shoot now, we are going to have to get out in the next one and walk Sebas, I think. Oh yeah, humph, walk with a tired son and the shopping. We get to our NEW stop and what do I see?!! an army of uniformed men and women, a "surprise check" frick- frick- frick, let the explanation begin in my head, we missed our stop, and our ticket is only valid for 3 stops, and I am very annoyed at the driver because he saw us trying to get out and did not wait and now we are going to get a fine (CHF 40.00 I think or more) ... and shoot I am going to have to explain all this in French .. and I cannot even find my ticket.

2 comments:

Carole said...

Great story! So did you get a fine or did you use you lovely charm to talk them out of it? And I mean that in the best way! :-)

Ale, Chuck & Sebastian said...

Hi Carole! it was inside the bag with his new toys (a sheep, a donkey and a goose). So somehow found it and then had to explain about the whole missing my stop, which I think they half-believed me (!!!) ... as you can see my French is not so charming nor convincing. But they did let me go w/o a fine. So I have to thank mr. uniform.

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