300,000 fare dodgers were caught by ticket inspectors last year. They owe about 350 million zloty to public transport carriers.
The President of the KRD Management Adam Łącki explained:
It does not mean that people suddenly stopped paying fares. The reason for the growth in debt is our new policy of often inspections and its effectiveness. 350 million zloty is enough money to buy about 150 new buses, which the passengers would certainly welcome warmly.
According to KRD a typical fare dodger is a man, he is 26-35 years old and comes from the Masovian District (Mazowsze). He has been caught red-handed three rimes, and his debt amounts to about 1100 zloty.
The record-holder is a man from the Grater Poland (Wielkopolska) and he owes the carriers an astronomical total of 92,000 zloty. The second position belongs to a woman from Świętokrzyskie Voivodship whose debt arises to 71,000 zloty. Third comes a man from the Masovian District who owes ‘only’ 41,000 zloty to the carriers.
Just one stop, sir!
Igor Krajnow of Zarząd Transportu Miejskiego w Warszawie (Public Transport Authority in Warsaw) enumerates the most common excuses for not punching or not having tickets:
- – “I just didn’t have time to punch it”
- – “I couldn’t buy it anywhere”
- – “I forgot it”
- – “Just one stop, sir!”
There are also people brave enough to pretend they are not from Poland and they don’t speak the language, hoping for an inspector who doesn’t speak whatever language they imitate.
The most effective way to fight the fare dodgers are inspections as often as possible, so Krajnow. “We are also working on an effective debt factoring system.”
Problems with bank loans
KRD points out that many people still think they can avoid paying fares by a constant delaying of the payment due, since – according to the applicable law – each unsettled ticket payment lapses after only a year. However, if a carrier applies for a warrant of payment, the lapse period becomes invalid. It is also underlined that any unsettled ticket payment can be noted at Biuro Informacji Gospodarczej (Poland’s Credit Information Bureau), which means, among others, serious restrictions when applying for a loan.
So keep calm and punch it right!