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Transportation Government The Almighty Buck

Swedish Fare Dodgers Organize Against Transportation Authorities 389

An anonymous reader writes "Every transit network has its fare beaters, the riders who view payment as either optional or prohibitively expensive. Many cities, most notably New York, view turnstile-jumpers as a top policing priority, reasoning that scofflaws might graduate to more serious crimes if left alone. But in Stockholm, the offenders seem to have defeated the system. From the article: 'For over a decade, Mr. Tengblad has belonged to a group known as Planka.nu (rough translation: “free-ride.now”), an organization with only two prerequisites for admission: Members must pay a monthly fee of about $15 and, as part of a continuous demonstration against the fare, promise to evade payment every time they ride. If travelers keep their side of the agreement, the group will cover any of the roughly $180 fines that might result. (An unlimited ride pass for 30 days costs about $120.)'"
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Swedish Fare Dodgers Organize Against Transportation Authorities

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  • Insurance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @09:35AM (#47031077)

    It's just an insurance scheme. With heavier penalties, it would not work.

  • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @09:44AM (#47031133) Journal

    would be charged with criminal conspiracy.

  • Public transit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @09:45AM (#47031137)

    Or the Transit Authority can lower the monthly cost for a full time rider to $14.99, and get the government to covere the difference from tax revenue. It is a socialist country you know.
    Just increase the tax on petrol (or whatever is Swedish for gasoline)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @09:45AM (#47031139)

    This is known as organized crime.

  • Not heroes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JavaBear ( 9872 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @10:10AM (#47031259)

    These people are parasites, and leeches, whose evasion is helping to drive UP the cost for everybody else.
    Public transportation is en expensive service, mostly subsidized through taxes, these hypocritical parasites help make it that much more expensive for everybody else.

    I hope the Swedish authorities take an idea that was floated when the same was about to happen in Denmark.

    The fines the "organization" pay, are to be treated as taxable income.

  • by Dereck1701 ( 1922824 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @10:11AM (#47031267)

    Because the US "justice" system is such a shining example for the world. Threatening college students with decades of prison for "stealing" public research papers. Approving no-knock warrants resulting in hundreds if not thousands of innocent deaths. Militarization of police forces and the use of SWAT teams for even the most benign crimes. Crushing people pirating a few songs/movies with hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Yes, the rest of the world would do well to emulate us.

  • by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @10:54AM (#47031539) Homepage
    Nah, that'd also punish people who legitimately forgot their ticket or something along those lines. The much better idea is to increase repeat offender fines. If the first fine's only like $50, but the fifth is more like $500, those fare dodgers would very quickly go broke while normal people wouldn't be affected.
  • by NotSanguine ( 1917456 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @10:54AM (#47031541) Journal

    In my part of the U.S. the paying customers would just collectively stomp the shit out of mr. Tengblad. But we don't have trains, or other energy and environment saving public transportation required for a more livable and sustainable world.. Everybody loses.

    There. FTFY

  • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @11:01AM (#47031579) Journal

    Political protest is not illegal in the US. However, breaking laws as a form of political protest (or as a means of generating income, or whatever other purpose you can think of for breaking laws) is illegal.

  • Re:Hop the strass (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @11:20AM (#47031725) Homepage Journal

    Literally meaning, I ain't got no money. You may know the concept better as, open source.

    Weak troll is weak. People who write OSS are willingly giving the product of their efforts away for free. That's got nothing to do with scofflaws who deliberately steal a service that they are not paying for.

  • Re:Insurance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @12:05PM (#47032041) Journal

    With heavier penalties, it would not work.

    If heavier penalties fixed anything, nobody in the USA would do drugs or drive drunk.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @12:07PM (#47032051)

    How? *You* have the unlimited metrocard.

    There is a difference between not paying and faulty equipment.

  • Re:Hop the strass (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @12:20PM (#47032145)

    Those services are funded by tax payer money

    Those services are partially funded by tax payer money

    There, I fixed that for you.

  • by _Shad0w_ ( 127912 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @12:28PM (#47032217)

    Chapter 23 of the Swedish Penal Code is titled "On Attempt, Preparation, Conspiracy and Complicity".

  • by Zironic ( 1112127 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @01:10PM (#47032507)

    It's hard to describe with words how deeply the core principles of the Swedish state would be violated by your proposal. You are essentially proposing breaking down the entire system of government.

    SL (The owner of the metro) is a private corporation that is owned by the local county. Having a private company employ police in the capacity of policemen is unthinkable, it can simply not happen, ever. It violates every principle about division of power and oversight of power.

    Yes, the Chief of Police has the authority to send all his police down in the metro to catch people dodging fares if he wanted to. But what sort of perverse mind control would you use on him to make him do such a thing and how many seconds do you think he would remain chief of police if he did so? Catching people dodging fares is not part of his mandate and by ordering the policemen to do so, he'd make them unable to actually prevent crime. That sort of thing would force the oversight board to remove him on the spot.

  • Re: Public transit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Strider- ( 39683 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @01:19PM (#47032557)

    So people who drive cars, and therefore use public transportation less or not at all, should pay more so that people who do use the system pay less?

    Well, the drivers get the very real benefit of fewer vehicles on the roads. Even if we ignore Stockholm's (very good) subway system, a bus carrying 40 passengers probably means 15+ cars that are not on the road.

  • Re:Insurance (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @01:35PM (#47032633)

    Driving drunk is; it's a sign that you're unable to control your drug use enough to abstain when it's clearly necessary. Using a substance in the privacy of your own home isn't, unless you're injecting non-sterile and/or non-pharmaceutical-grade substances, or injecting any substance without appropriate medical training.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @02:07PM (#47032807)

    You're free to believe that the fares should be free but not paying isn't the way to make it so. Do it politically and pay through taxes

    They are doing. Civil disobedience is the primary way of getting political change. Democracy is broken in most countries.

    (most of these idiots are likely youths or leftish individuals who don't work anyway)

    Your bias and distain is noted. A more balanced view is that most fare dodgers are poor people. People for whom the fares are a more significant part of their income (if any).

    It's an unofficial form of redistribution of wealth. And indeed that's the political argument for having it paid for out general of taxation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:12PM (#47033125)

    You're wrong about planka.nu but assuming that you're not Swedish, I forgive you for not knowing.

    First of all, they state that public transportation should be considered part of infrastructure, which of course also costs tax money to maintain. You don't need to pay for walking on the sidewalk now do you? That's their message. Personally, I'd add that the ticket system isn't free either so if public transportation were not paid for through other means than taxes, there would be savings like that. And as proof of viability, I offer the city of Tallinn and the city of Mariehamn because they have indeed gone that route (the latter is tiny with only two bus lines, though).

    Second, they really do this as a campaign - maybe not the most noble form of civil disobedience since their cost is smaller than the benefit - but they indeed do advocate that tax revenue should be increased, if necessary, to cover the cost. You can call it leeching or even theft but what they're doing is no more lazy than buying a monthly pass is (and actually the need to dodge inspectors technically makes them less lazy).

    In my opinion it's a pretty efficient way to campaign for what they want since everyone (with a monthly pass at least) has an incentive to join them and if everybody does, they will have reached their goal. I seriously doubt that planka.nu would be unable to pay the fines on behalf of people in that scenario since ticket inspectors can work fast when they're just looking at valid tickets but if they must constantly stop to issue fines, they will be a lot slower. Not to mention that when caught, people in this campaign would certainly not dig through their wallets and purses all that fast to check if they really have "forgotten or lost" their ticket.

    You might not agree with their political goal but you cannot deny that their method for striving towards it is smart and infinitely more efficient than writing petitions to elected representatives.

  • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @03:53PM (#47033317)
    I hope you do realize that when a Swede labels someone as a mere "leftist", the "leftist" individual in question would probably scare the shit out of an average American?
  • Re:Insurance (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashikiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday May 18, 2014 @07:04PM (#47034443) Homepage

    Considering the low level that's required to "blow over" for the last 10+ years? Pretty sure we've got a problem, considering two off the shelf beers will put you over the legal limit in most places, or a run-of-the-mill mixed drink.

  • Re:Insurance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mitchell314 ( 1576581 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @09:21PM (#47035119)
    Just don't drink and drive. It's not rocket science.

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