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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 (rough translation: “”), 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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @10:03AM (#47031221)

    Conspiracy like racketeering is one of the totalitarian catch all offenses put in place to counteract the radical spirit of the constitution and is a great way to deprive someone of civil rights when you don't like them. Free countries who have an enlightened populace and a government which represents them and not control will police actual committed crimes and not just talking about crimes.

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @10:25AM (#47031353)

    Yes, what kind of barbaric country would stop people from planning to kill somebody?

    RICO, the primary American anti-racketeering law, has been used against political protesters.

  • Easy to fix (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WhiteZook ( 3647835 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @10:29AM (#47031379)
    1. 1. The authorities should sign up their own staff, and issue them fake fines (1-2 per month).
    2. 2. Send the fake fines to
    3. 3. Collect underpants
    4. 4. Get reimbursed for hundreds of dollars, while only paying $15 a month: profit!
  • Re:hike up the fines (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @10:54AM (#47031537)

    Since the fine is apparently equal to 12 months of fees to the organization, that implies people only get caught once every two years. As a turnstile jumper you'd actually be better off not being in the organization and putting that $15 a month into a bank account to pay the ticket.

    If the government put a couple extra cops on the ticket turnstile beat and doubled the amount of tickets you issued they'd only break even, and if they tripled the number of tickets the group'd start losing cash. If the average jumper starts getting caught every 8 months, that's 1.5 times a year, which means they pay fines of $270, and an insurer needs $22.50 a month in revenue to cover costs. The best strategy would probably be to double the fine and double enforcement on the train lines for a few months. Either option makes the group break even, and combined they'd mean the group has to double it's fee.

    Of course back in the real world the Swedish authorities could easily conclude this is just mischievous kids being mischievous, and therefore the group should not be forced out of business.

  • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @10:57AM (#47031565) Journal

    Taking advantage of loop-holes is perfectly legal and extremely American. We have always been about following the letter but not the intent of the law which is why we're still arguing about guns, abortion, and grazing fees on federal land. Mitt Romney takes advantage of loop-holes in tax laws to hide his money from US taxes by shuffling it around shell corporations in the Cayman islands. Mitt pays accountants and lawyers to set all that stuff up. The whole reason the US produces so many lawyers is to help rich people and corporations walk right up the the often fuzzy line between what is legal and what isn't.

    Taking advantage of loop-holes is not the same thing as breaking laws. The people in Sweden are breaking laws by not paying for tickets to ride mass transit. The group that is encouraging and assisting them to break the law is no different that any other organized criminal gang. Now that they've invented/discovered the advantage of organizing criminal activity (duh!), I wonder what business they might get into next. I hear there's a lot of money to be made in drugs and prostitution.

  • by aliquis ( 678370 ) <> on Sunday May 18, 2014 @12:46PM (#47032351) Homepage

    Thiefs think others should pay, news at 11.

    I'm from Sweden and well aware of the idiots who think they have the right to pay when others do pay.

    They simply suck.

    I wish they all got caught and I wish everyone reported these idiots when they saw them.

    I still hate that I didn't when I saw someone jump in the back of the bus once here in Örebro.

    (Supposedly the immigrants in an immigrant dence part of the town have been doing this / (possibly threatening / ignoring the bus driver) here too.)

    Ass-holes, nothing to brag about. Shouldn't any idiot understand that everyone should contribute to the society to get the benefits out from it?

    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 (most of these idiots are likely youths or leftish individuals who don't work anyway) and also realize that demand on transports would increase if everyone could travel for free.

  • Re:Easy to fix (Score:4, Interesting)

    by NilleKopparmynt ( 928574 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @01:46PM (#47032707)

    That is a very good idea! But as a person who travels using the Stockholm public transport every day I must add that the problem is far bigger than just "". It is effectively free to use the public transport in Stockholm. I see at least five different ways people avoid paying. 1. who simply says that they are not going to pay and know that the lonely conductor (on the trams) is not going to do anything. 2. Middle eastern immigrants in groups that just says fuck off! 3. Swedes that comes with strange excuses like "oh, i forgot but I am just going one station". 4. Nervous Swedes that jumps in and out of the tram depending on where the conductor is. 5. Immigrants who just shake their head when the ticket checker arrives.

    I have traveled with the tram to and from work in Stockholm for almost three years now and I have so far yet to see the first fine handed out. The problem with this is that people like me who pay properly are such fucking losers. I assume that the economic reality will catch up with this sooner or later.

    Sweden is full of idiots like this. The worst organization is not "" but "allt åt alla" (everything to everyone). They think that all the tax money collected should be handed out to anyone who needs money. It is obvious that they aim to receive money and have no ambition to contribute. Basically a modern version of a cargo cult

    The great Swedish welfare state is dead. We do not have a working military anymore which makes even the Estonian president to complain. The healthcare is the same. It exists but not for everyone no matter how much tax you pay. Sweden has the fewest hospital beds per 1000 people in Europe. A 27 year old Swede can look forward to 40% of the salary as a pension. A Greek 120%. The School is falling in the PISA statistics. All can be found in different OECD reports.

    I am soon emigrating. I am not paying anymore.

  • Re:Insurance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @01:53PM (#47032737)

    Singapore on the other hand, has a consistent and well-enforced policy: sell drugs, you get executed. Note that drug usage in SG is near zero.

    How do you know? An alternative theory is that the penalty just makes those that disobey the law more careful.

    For a tiny city state, it seems to have an awfully busy Narcotics Bureau, with many sizable drug trafficker incidents. []

    That's not near zero.

    In any country, the number caught is a fraction of the number that are not caught. It's quite likely that the fraction is even lower in Singapore as dealers take more care.

  • Re:Insurance (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 18, 2014 @02:37PM (#47032963)

    I'd disagree. There was an article on /. a while back that it is better to have a small penalty that is heavily enforced than it is to have a large one that is not often used.

    I do not know how good a job the police forces in the Nordic countries do but their idea of deterring crime is precisely what you said (I assume that they're all pretty much the same but the news story I saw was from Finland). Money spent on crime prevention is a finite resource and goes to police work and prisons and they emphasize the former much more than the latter and thus prison sentences simply have to be short because the prison budget is small. A first-time burglar in Finland can get away with a hefty fine, if the stolen property can be found and returned. If a high percentage of crimes are also solved, it means heavily enforced small penalties, like you said. I believe that at least when it comes to violent crime, the rate is almost 100 % there since the perpetrator and victim almost always know each other and with alcohol involved, there's no criminal mastermind carefully hiding his tracks. Muggings are unheard of and only a handful of "usual suspects" have the ability to pull off a robbery successfully. An amusing anecdote I heard from a Finnish friend is that once an amateur bank robber failed because he showed a note to the teller but had misspelled 'this is a robbery" so bad that she couldn't help laughing at it and at that point the robber figured that his plan isn't working and it's best to flee...

  • Re:Insurance (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sir-gold ( 949031 ) on Sunday May 18, 2014 @04:07PM (#47033391)

    There is a certain addictive feeling that comes with stealing (or breaking the law, or simply lying habitually) and getting away with it. Similar to a "runner's high", but with less running.
    As with any drug, repeated exposure builds tolerance, doubly-so for a "drug" created by a stressful situation that isn't as stressful the second time around.
    This is why people who are addicted to "getting away with it" feel the need to escalate to bigger and bigger risks, in order to chase that same high.

    This is why Sweden doesn't want people to get "addicted" to fare jumping, they are afraid that it might escalate into something more

  • Re:Insurance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Loki_1929 ( 550940 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @04:45AM (#47036443) Journal

    The feds have stepped in before to shut down operations with no evidence of cross-border activity. If the trade of it crosses the border somewhere, the feds have jurisdiction. Just like in-state kidnappings are under the jurisdiction of the feds (if they want it). Because some kidnappings sometimes cross borders, the feds can assume that all do.

    The Feds have stepped all over states' rights since the founding of this country; moreso in the past few decades. The states have finally begun to take notice and many are working to reclaim those rights. The Feds have only been able to get away with it for so long because the states didn't try to stop them. With that changing, things are going to get more and more interesting. As evidence, there have been many recent proposed amendments to state bills on everything from guns to Marijuana that have directed state police to prevent Federal authorities from enforcing Federal laws contrary to the state laws where the state is given priority in the Constitution or at least to not assist Federal authorities in executing such Federal laws. Some have even called for the arrest of Federal authorities taking such actions. While these have been largely defeated thus far, the idea of proposing them would have been unthinkable just a decade ago. There's been a progression that seems to be leading toward state authorities actively resisting Federal authorities enforcing apparently unconstitutional laws.

    Ah, so the Supreme Court is wrong, and you are right. But nobody listens to you, so I'll quote the Supreme Court before you.

    Not the first time the Supreme Court has been wrong. The Supreme Court decided "separate but equal" was constitutional. It decided Japanese interment was constitutional. And it was apparently constitutional to fire teachers who were members of "subversive" groups. Well, at least until the Supreme Court reversed itself. That's happened numerous times before and it'll almost certainly happen again.

    The Supreme Court can rule that Catholicism is the national religion of the United States and that everyone in the US must convert to and practice it zealously. That doesn't make it correct. It can rule that a Federal law stripping all registered Democrats of the right to vote is constitutional. It isn't. Our system of government is imperfect, as is every other. It's run by imperfect humans who are subject to any number of influences that can impede their objectivity. We the people need to stand up, collectively, when our government gets something wrong and get it fixed; not throw our hands up and declare all hope lost because the Supreme Court issued a ruling. We need to be able to do that without a full blown revolution too, since those tend to be very bloody, expensive, and destructive. The way we seem to be tending toward handling this is through our state governments. I think that's one of the healthier ways to correct Federal mistakes and I hope to see the trend continue. As the states assert an increasing level of sovereignty, we'll see the power and scope of the Federal government diminish. Hopefully, that continues until it no longer has such horrifyingly complete dominion over the citizens of the United States.

All seems condemned in the long run to approximate a state akin to Gaussian noise. -- James Martin