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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
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