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In my observation the notion that police speed controls are inconsistent and a pointless harrassment of drivers is often connected to and explained with real or imagined police corruption (policemen pocketing a reduced fine). But consider the public transport comparison.

In Budapest, you can board most mass transit vehicles without controls (though there are now plans to change that), and the traffic company employs human controllers to reduce fare dodging (which is endemic). The controllers 'enjoy' the same low respect traffic police do, which is not unrelated to controller practices to try to maximise the number of caught 'customers', like standing at subway exits (rather than entries) and focus on the first days of the month (when most people have to buy their new monthly card and many forget to do so in time). Now, that may be a nasty attitude, but is it really an excuse for fare dodgers?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri May 31st, 2013 at 08:21:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have a friend who was chief of security of the Lyon public transport system a few years ago. The metro (four lines) used to be open-access. He introduced barriers at all stations (except one), and merged the controllers with the security service. The aim was both to improve fare collection, and reduce insecurity. I was rather reserved about it, but I have to admit it has worked really well.

One problem was that ticket controllers were subject to intimidation, and had to call for back-up, which always arrived too late. Now they travel in groups, and are ready for trouble. As a result, there is rarely any trouble.

There's still a certain amount of fare-dodging, mostly young men who jump the barriers, but there's a fair risk of being caught, so it's not really worth it economically (it's sort of a reverse lottery : if you buy your ticket regularly, you win in the end).

Moral of the story : collection and enforcement should be as automatic as possible, to reduce arbitrariness and/or corruption by controllers, and reduce resentment which tends to boost cheating.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri May 31st, 2013 at 10:09:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I first saw/read of barriers on metros elsewhere, my instinctive objection was that, if they are to be effective, they reduce passenger flow. (Where I should note that the only metro lines I rode on with traffic levels at or above Budapest's Lines 2 and 3 were in Paris.) But, I have to admit that if it works on the Moscow Metro, it should work anywhere.

Working in groups is standard for ticket controllers here, too. But even so, harassment is standard, too. For a fictionalised dystopian portrayal of the world of ticket controllers (inspired by and entirely filmed underground on the Budapest metro), check out the film Kontroll.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri May 31st, 2013 at 03:14:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But how does the Moscow system work? When I was in St. Petersburg, the system did not usually have a barrier, but had a sensor that blocked you if you did not pay. This seems to increase passenger flow, but may require a legal system that makes it hard to sue in case of injury,

As to passenger flow, the magnetic card system in NY definitely reduces traffic flow. I've seen it reduce traffic flow to zero in rush hour, when they don't work properly.

And what about buses? Does the driver have to check everybody boarding, restricting entrance to only one door?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri May 31st, 2013 at 04:38:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the same system in Moscow.

The restriction to a single door has been introduced on lower-frequency bus lines in the outer districts of Budapest, and it definitely reduces passenger flow...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri May 31st, 2013 at 06:21:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Denmark, the gripe isn't about inconsistent speeding enforcement - it's about too consistent enforcement.

Because of course everybody knows that the speed limits are only there to annoy drivers. And everybody knows that automated and consistent enforcement of speed limits is just a way to tax already overtaxed drivers. Concealed automatic speed cameras are subject to particular hate, as they don't even give the driver an "honest chance" to escape enforcement by breaking when he sees a van standing in the roadside and then going right back to speeding once past the next curve.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri May 31st, 2013 at 12:24:53 PM EST
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