Hey SL, don’t raise prises ; instead punish freeloaders

At the risk of sounding like the biggest Swedish Karen of all time, I read an article in Dagens Nyheter today regarding the possibility of SL (Stockholms Länstraffik) raising ticket prices again, for what feels like a perennial decision.

The reasons outlined in the article is huge losses as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, and that service can either be reduced or ticket prices raised. I can not express how much my blood boiled when I read this, and I’ll explain why.

I pay my tickets, and I’m an honest and productive member of society. I live by the rules, and I expect others to do so too. And yet at least 3 times a week I witness someone getting on the busses or trains in a concept called plankning which I think in English could be translated fare evasion. It’s a major problem, and it pisses me off. Why should paying customers be punished when non-paying customers benefit?

I don’t want to get into a fully expressed rant, but nothing is being done about it. They publish reports about how many times it happens, and operators “tick” each time they see it, but there is no consequence. They don’t stop them, they don’t fine them, they don’t do anything. In fact, in the last 3 years of commuting every day at last 2 times a day, I’ve only been fare-checked twice. TWICE!

It’s even happened on two occasions that I’ve stopped in the middle of the machine to prevent a person from coming on with my ticket. I flat out yell at them to pay their own damn ticket, and while most are surprised I even bother to say something, it’s about the principle and they sort of run away. We suffer because of the cheats, and yet they are never punished and continue to get away with it.

I even have photo evidence of an entire train car evading the fare inspectors because none of them had tickets. That was approximately 30 youngsters in that situation! The last I checked, the punishment fee is 1550kr, which means if they would have got that group, it would have paid the monthly fare for an entire two year period for one person.

So in the unlikely event that SL reads English blogs, or gives a hoot about what customers say and want, I plead with you: don’t raise prices, instead punish the cheaters! Find another way to catch and find them, and make them learn, because they aren’t getting the message with your passive approach.

And while you’re at it, please fine those smoking on train platforms where there are already clearly marked no smoking signs. It’s been illegal for years, and you could rake in millions, since nobody seems to give a hoot except the damaged lungs of passengers trying to walk past and not inhale second-hand-smoke.

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