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Paris Metro Ticket Enforcement

Hang on to that Paris Metro ticket! Seriously!

The Rick Steves’ website on the Paris Metro, https://www.ricksteves.com/watch-read-listen/read/articles/le-metro-de-paris, makes brief mention of the need to hang on to your ticket after you have entered the system: “Be warned that fare inspectors regularly check for cheaters and accept absolutely no excuses — keep that ticket or pay a minimum fine of €45.”

What is actually true right now is that Metro officials are targeting tourists who may well have discarded their tickets. Our group of seven family members experienced this so-called “checking for cheaters” first-hand, and it almost ruined our 10-day visit to France. I’ll tell the story but I want to make clear at the top that Paris Metro police are selectively and arbitrarily enforcing a law that only tourists are likely to misunderstand. Such selective enforcement would never fly in the States. The ultimate lesson: Do not under any circumstances discard an individual used Metro ticket until you have completely exited the system for that complete trip.

On our first two days in Paris we each used a two-day pass. For the next two days we opted to go with the carnet system, which is a pack of 10 individual tickets. This worked well until our last transfer to our last stop—switching from the No. 12 train to the No. 1 at Concorde. Having blithely discarded our tickets after entering the system, we were met at the boarding area for the No. 1 train by a quartet of Metro officials who stopped all seven of us and demanded to see our used tickets. Six of us had discarded them, and we were told the penalty was 50 euros, reduced to 35 if we were in possession of a new unused ticket, which we had.

We were soon joined by another American family—a couple and their daughter—who had been grabbed just down the corridor as they planned to exit the system. We all possessed new valid tickets and were prepared to give up another ticket as a replacement for the missing old ones, but this was not accepted. The only option offered was the fine of 35 euros.

The husband of the other couple called the American embassy but was told this was a local enforcement issue. Our Metro agents were joined by Metro “police,” a ragged band who claimed to speak no English except to say, “Passport? Passport?”

We paid our fine, which was reduced by a couple of passers-by, who slipped us their used tickets and whispered, “This happened to us yesterday.”

I feel most sorry for the other couple. The husband protested, calmly and professionally, but I turned around to see the police trying to reach into his backpack and twisting his arm behind his back when he objected. His wife left the scene in tears, and I know for certain any joy of their trip was wiped away.

A young woman at the Louvre—one of the roaming agents providing visitor information—volunteered that folks in Paris see this enforcement as an effort to help raise money for Metro expansion into the Paris suburbs.

These are not simple quiet stops. If you turn as though you are walking away, you find yourself being grabbed or facing someone who has lunged in front of you. If you raise your camera as though to photograph anyone, you have two or three faces inches from yours, shouting, “No! Police evidence!” meaning, I guess, that they are threatening to confiscate equipment. It is intimidating and unfolds in such a way that it takes many minutes to even figure out what they are accusing you of.

I strongly urge the mangers of the Rick Steves’ website on the Paris Metro to strengthen the warning on keeping that ticket. Yes, you could say we didn’t know the law and we paid the price, but my point is that the Paris Metro is selectively enforcing the law on those most unlikely to know it, period. It’s the French version of a speed trap, and my wish is that every Paris Metro official may one day drive through Rosendale, Wis. We weren’t “cheaters;” we were selected victims, pure and simple.

Posted by
308 posts

I am so sorry that happened to you! I think something like that could happen to any of us.

My husband and I were stopped during a Metro inspection in February 2017. We had our tickets with us so it was quick and painless. I try to keep my tickets because one or more of the subway systems I occasionally use makes you insert your ticket to get out (maybe London or NYC?).

We were taking the Metro in the morning during a weekday and it appeared that we were among locals heading to work. It looked to us like the inspectors were stopping everyone, so at least in February during rush hour they did not appear to be targeting only tourists.

Posted by
4468 posts

It is common to need to retain travel tickets (or card etc) throughout your journeys on public transport in Europe for examination - indeed pretty nearly universal.

It is a strict liability offence too usually, ie it doesn't matter why you can't produce the ticket, the only important fact is that you cannot.

I believe with RATP it is possible to get the penalty refunded if you do subsequently find the used ticket and present it.

Visitors are more likely to have one-time type tickets rather than locals who will have seasons and are unlikely to have binned them as they are valid for a period. That is of course apart from any evading the fare.

Posted by
2092 posts

I was well aware of this stipulation when I visited Paris last year, and just shoved my used ticket in one pocket every time just in case, but despite riding the metro extensively for a week I was only asked once to show a ticket upon exiting the station.

Posted by
256 posts

The same is true in Budapest. Plus, they check for tickets as you are leaving the system. They also have undercover transit police on the streetcars. Lucky for us we were with my friend that lives in Budapest when both events occured. Lesson learned for me, hang on to that ticket no matter what transit system that you are using or where.

Posted by
5703 posts

We have been checked on average once a week for several years now on the Paris metro and one week, 3 times. IN each case they were not targeting poor poor American tourists. They were checking everyone who passed the spot e.g. at the transfer to a platform, or just before the exist. EVERYONE. Locals as well as tourists. I doubt your family was checked and locals around you were not although they probably were not making the same fuss so you didn't notice. Since locals mostly have passes, showing the pass or checking the pass is quick.

Offering a new ticket because you haven't a valid ticket is obviously not equivalent to having a valid ticket. The system has cheaters ripping off millions each year. That new ticket would be usable again since it isn't validated, it proves nothing. What makes you think this is 'selective'. I have literally seen the process dozens of times and in every case, everyone passing the check point was checked. In some stations with high levels of cheating, I have seen police cordon off side passages, so people can't turn and avoid the checkers -- so police essentially herded everyone through the checkpoint where several checkers checked tickets. In many of these spots there were few tourists and lots of locals.

What did surprise me was that checking occurred at times I would not have expected e.g. Sunday evening in one case.

American tourists seem to have a high level of paranoia about such things. EVERY transport system in Europe works exactly this way; you must be able to show a valid ticket when checked. We have had our tickets checked on the bus in Florence and in the metro in Vienna. There like in Paris everyone in range gets checked. And seriously you think when someone turns to walk away from enforcement that the enforcers are the bad guys for being intimidating? How do American police treat people who walk away from them during an attempt to enforce a law?

Posted by
7173 posts

It makes no sense to me why Americans feel "targeted". Were you guilty of the offense? If so then you deserve the penalty. Being unaware is absolutely no excuse - but that doesn't really work for you because you admitted you WERE aware.

If I were a Paris Metro ticket checker I would probably target Americans, too, because they seem to not be able to follow this particular simple rule.

Posted by
775 posts

Personally, I'm glad the ticket inspectors are actively "out there." Living here, weekly it seems, I'm told via the news, the amount fraudulent ticket usage or non usage is costing the RATP. Be glad this didn't happen in Berlin. As a previous poster mentioned, keeping the ticket until one's exit from the system is pretty much de rigueur all over Europe . . . .and is mentioned in most guide books I've looked at.

Posted by
399 posts

janetteravels is right on the money. From what I've seen, everyone gets checked, and it's not going to end well if you turn and walk away from any kind of security officer. Of course none of us saw your interaction or that of the other family, but it also doesn't sound wise to resist them in any way.
We've only been checked for tickets once using the metro, but on 3 occasions we've seen bands of young men jumping over the turnstiles to enter. From the chatter among them, I would assume they were French. I would think the checkpoints are intended to catch them as much as anyone else.
It's understandable to be upset over paying a large fine for an "innocent" mistake but, as the saying goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Posted by
5504 posts

Thanks for the warning, but I'm a bit curious as to why any passenger would discard their validated ticket before completing their journey. Was there a trash bin at the validator?

My biggest problem on encountering a new transit system is first knowing whether a ticket needs to be validated, then finding a validation machine or device and figuring out how to validate the ticket. I suppose that it would be best to ask someone in the know, but men don't ask for help.

Posted by
7146 posts

It is on you to read a guidebook and learn the rules and the norms of any new culture you visit and then follow them. Your biased post is offensive on many levels. You were not the victims in this event.

If you had framed your story differently and said "We made a mistake, we threw away our tickets and got fined for not having them, don't make the same mistake we did" that would be one thing, but to frame it as you were victims of mean police targeting tourists is hogwash.

Posted by
3313 posts

The rail system in my home town of Houston requires you to have a valid ticket at any time you are asked for one while on the train or waiting at the stations. Failure to show the ticket is a $50 - $250 fine.

If a police officer is asking me questions in my home town and I turn away like I am leaving, I would end up with more than someone stepping in front of me -- most likely I would end up face down on the pavement in handcuffs with a knee in my back.

Why would anyone think it is different anywhere else. Not knowing the language or the rules does not excuse you.

Is what happened to this family in Paris unusual or excessive? No. They knew the rules and chose not to follow them.

Posted by
6807 posts

Everyone who has responded is an experienced Paris traveler or resident and no one thinks it's a scam against tourists. It's too bad you and the others felt targeted. No one wants to feel victimized. We see this accusation usually about speeding tickets caught by radar.

Back to the metro, my first experience with the inspectors was on a Saturday morning at a (ticket)windowless entry back in 1974, looking for a short-cut and intending to cross the platform to get to the entry with a window with the noble intention of buying a carnet. Didn't hold water with the inspectors and I speak excellent French--20 franc fine on the spot and a long walk around to the entry with a ticket window.

I was stupid then and you were stupid now to throw away tickets while still inside the system and mistaken to think it's all about targeting tourists. The person making the remark about raising money was being insouciant toward government funding--sure expanding the metro and RER 35 euros at a time. Very funny! That's a very Parisian attitude.

Walking away when stopped by a metro police is a paternalistic attitude that this isn't a real country with laws and enforcement but Disney's Small World.
Calling the Embassy over a metro fine is a real howl, and I'm sure staff laughed all day, but again, I'm afraid it's a display of an American superiority complex.

Posted by
2229 posts

"Walking away when stopped by a metro police is a paternalistic attitude that this isn't a real country with laws and enforcement but Disney's Small World.
Calling the Embassy over a metro fine would be a howl, but again, I'm afraid it's a display of an American superiority complex."

We have a winner!

Posted by
5316 posts

Note to original poster -- same advice if you visit San Francisco ... or Seattle, or New Orleans, all of which being places where we have encountered transit police checking for valid fares. For everyone.

Posted by
2466 posts

The ink on validated tickets can be very faint. To avoid confusing validated tickets with unused tickets, all you have to do is fold the validated ticket in half once and hang on to it until you reach street level.

If you are using bus tickets, just unfold them and validate in the machine in front of the bus. Fold and keep till you don't need them anymore.
Agents are stepping up ticket checks on buses, too.

I live here and get checked an average of 3 times weekly.

Posted by
5436 posts

I am sorry that you had a bad experience, but it's absolutely not true to say that transit police are targeting Americans for fare-jumping.

They do periodic checks all over the system, to whoever comes across wherever they have set up -- and yes they will come after you if you head the other way, because they position themselves strategically so that people can't pretend they were going to another line, or not going on the metro, or whatever.

They check EVERYONE who goes through wherever they've set up a screen. If the people who haven't paid are tourists, then they're tourists. If the people who haven't paid are teenaged French kids, then they're teenaged French kids. etc etc etc.

One other note: the idea that one could finance an extension of the Paris metro further in the suburbs -- which would be multi-million-euro infrastructure project -- on the backs of these traveling-without-tickets fines is preposterous on its face.

Edit to add: I actually think I was caught up in this exact same control, if it was a few days ago in the early evening, in the Line 1 at Concorde. It looked like a normal control to me. I handed the officer my monthly pass, they beeped it against their machine, and let me pass. Funny how it works when you follow the rules.

Posted by
7146 posts

I can only imagine how many people you've told this story to who were very sympathetic to you, thus furthering the negative opinion many ignorant Americans have of Paris and Parisians.

Posted by
166 posts

Ever in America you need your ticket. I live in Houston and its the same gig. Went to Japan recently, same gig...but they even require a ticket to exit because the fee is different depending on the stop. I think this is a case of not understanding the rules.

Posted by
2731 posts

The ink on validated tickets can be very faint. To avoid confusing validated tickets with unused tickets, all you have to do is fold the validated ticket in half once and hang on to it

Exactly my method and for the same faint ink reason. There can be confusion about which tickets are unused, and unique to Paris is the packet/carnet scheme, where a person has to tell used and unused apart since they are carrying both at the same time. There's a strong incentive to discard the used ones quickly to simplify things.

Posted by
12103 posts

Well, who told you to discard your Metro ticket in the first place? If you think that tourists are intentionally targeted, too bad, plus seen from the Metro controllers, that makes sense: the targeted tourists are the source of revenue. I never discard my Metro ticket until I have cleared the station, even then it goes into one pants pocket.

In Budapest if one somehow gets to point of taking the escalator down to the Metro platform, ie, w/o a ticket, you'll be in for a surprise because the controllers are waiting for you at the foot of the escalator or a few steps away. Anyway, they see certainly spot you out, hopefully with ticket in hand.

Posted by
12103 posts

RE: "American tourists seem to have a high sense of paranoia about such things."

When you take the U-Bahn in Vienna, before reaching the escalator, there is a sign specifically focused on having valid ticket: "Nur mit gültigem Fahrausweis."

I've been checked in Vienna on the tram and U-Bahn, just showed the controller the Combi-Ticket given by the hotel...that's it.

Posted by
5703 posts

What I find odd is the huge fuss and kerfuffle and strutting and twitching and high dudgeon and sense of personal outrage and persecution and entitlement. They made a mistake. It was one easy to avoid and not a deep secret if one does even the slightest due diligence. The OP apparently was even aware of this and still didn't do it. And then all the fussing and moaning and accusing. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we pay for them. I am sure most of us can name a few instances in our history. I loused up an airline reservation only a couple of weeks ago that is costing me. Accepting responsibility and moving on rather than caricaturing the 'ugly American tourist' would be a good start here.

Posted by
253 posts

We were checked twice in our 5 days in Paris and twice saw metro police chasing teens who had jumped the barrier or who otherwise didn't have tickets and they looked like local kids.. When we were checked 2 metro officials were standing at the exit and checking everyone who went through. It was more than briefly mentioned in many things I read about using the Paris Metro. Make sure you keep your ticket until you are out, and don't mix up unused carnet tickets with used ones. I was with my kids and collected and held them so my kids wouldn't mistakenly lose them as sometimes kids do.

Posted by
30970 posts

Thanks for posting this reminder, as it may save other travellers from the same fate. It's unfortunate that your family happened to encounter a check point and ended up being fined, but those are the rules. You would have faced the same situation in Italy had you been travelling with unvalidated tickets on a Regionale train, Bus or whatever. In that case the fine is €100 PP but discounted to €50 PP if paid on the spot. It's incumbent on all travellers to do their homework and understand the rules.

I'm a bit curious about one point. If you had read the warning on the RS website (brief mention or not), why did you not follow the advice?

I chuckled a bit when reading the part about the other family calling the American Embassy. What did they expect the Embassy to do?

Posted by
37 posts

To the original poster:

You need to follow the rules, period. Ignorance is no excuse - and this does not help the image of the "ugly American."

You stated "Such selective enforcement would never fly in the States." Seriously? Have you never heard of profiling? It's prolific and of a far more serious nature than just paying a fine. If you're from Rosendale, Wisconsin I'm guessing this isn't something you ever have to deal with. Or if you're white, like me, and live literally anywhere in America, we'll never have to deal with that "selective enforcement" of laws. So please do not try to paint America as a bastion of fairness.

And calling yourself a victim is just ridiculous. Learn the rules of the countries you visit, or just stay in the U.S.

Posted by
23577 posts

From personal experience on the other side of the coin - from the point of view of checking tickets on English trains - where a ticket must be retained until after completely out of the system - when checking hundreds or a thousand tickets at a time neither I nor my colleagues have the time to assess if a passenger is an American or anybody else. All tickets are checked regardless of colour, race, dress, gender, or how long their hair is.

Most people have the correct tickets so when somebody exhibits fare-evasion behaviour - in which we have been well trained - they immediately draw attention to themselves and are given more scrutiny than somebody who is just checked and proceeds. I promise you, turning away from a stream of people and trying to walk away gets an instantaneous response, usually from more than one officer, and no excuses are accepted.

I'm sorry if the OP had a difficult time but it sounds like it was mostly self-inflicted.

By the way, how would you feel if while doing your job " If you raise your camera as though to photograph anyone" somebody points a camera (or phone with a camera) at you. I've had it and didn't cut the person much slack.

We're after fare evaders, not tourists.

Posted by
2229 posts

In the Word-a-Day category, thank you to Janet for dudgeon, I have a new word to impress my friends with!

Posted by
12103 posts

"Selective enforcement" makes total sense since that is where money is, may not be moral but reaslistic. Targeting Americans is generally easy to spot out, if that were the case. It not, then you escaped, having been targeted as a tourist instead. If that were the case, too bad. I'll be in Paris in June, will see if I'm going to be targeted as an American tourist, caught unawares. But, then I don't ditch my Metro ticket either.

Posted by
5504 posts

While I have no basis to say the French do not selectively enforce, Nigel's perspective seems the more reasonable. I was on an Oslo tram when the transit police did a ticket check. Two officers entered the front and checked everyone while another officer blocked the back door and grabbed a woman trying to escape out the back. She must have been a local because she was able to show her identity card to the officer who wrote a citation. Apparently Oslo did not require cash on the spot for local offenders.

Posted by
321 posts

Pocket on the Left=unused tickets. Pocket on the Right=used. Easy Peasy.

Posted by
2347 posts

Well, so much for my strategy of using an English accent to avoid the fare checkers! Nigel is onto us!

Add me to the group of those checked by Metro police. Showed my pass and went on my way.

Posted by
2546 posts

"We paid our fine, which was reduced by a couple of passers-by, who slipped us their used tickets and whispered, “This happened to us yesterday.”"
Those passers-by were pretty silly to turn over their used tickets before exiting the system when they knew the consequences. And the inspectors saw that but did not say anything or prevent it? I am not sure I believe this part of the story. The rest with all the bad behavior on the part of the OP and his fellow travelers -- that I believe and am shaking my head that the OP posted this story without even a twinge of self-awareness. By the way, the Rick Steves warning that is posted above is very clear.

Posted by
645 posts

Other than checking tickets, I don't see how metro systems could enforce fares. Just this last summer we were checked on trains in the Netherlands twice, once on a British train, once on the Prague metro, and once on the Paris metro. All the officers were polite efficient and checking everyone.

It's when I have a multiuse pay as you go card like The Oyster that I get paranoid. I'm always afraid I didn't get it properly validated entering or exiting. But so far I always have.

Posted by
11569 posts

You would have faced the same situation in Italy had you been
travelling with unvalidated tickets on a Regionale train, Bus or
whatever.

LOL, Ken. I was so freaked about validating tickets the first time we went that I tried stuffing a ticket that didn't need it into the machine. Note to self: if it doesn't fit, you're good to go. I'm sure the Italians were snickering.

But yes, having the proper ticket, properly validated if required, ON you in case of a check is pretty much standard everywhere we've been. Also, In some metro systems you need that valid ticket or pass to exit the station's turnstiles.

Posted by
2731 posts

This topic has a nasty overtone, am I reading fodors.com by mistake?

Other than checking tickets, I don't see how metro systems could enforce fares.

This was standard practice until about 2000, at least in NYC and Chicago. You paid (with a token or coins that disappeared into a turnstile box at entry) and were good to go-- there was nothing to check after entry. DC's metro and SF's BART used the ticket in/ticket out process starting in the late 70s, and this was used in London also before Oyster, but again in those systems no checking of fares during the ride (just at exit). The first honor system/no turnstile/no fare box system I ran across was the London Docklands Railway in 1988. Now I have run across it in all over the US (light rail in Portland, Phoenix, Minneapolis) and in Copenhagen, Munich, Rome buses, all over. But it isn't that long ago that for city transit systems, whether rail or bus, to pay at entry and forget about it was most commonly used system internationally.

Posted by
5436 posts

JHK brings up a good point. Why would the acquisition of used tickets from passers-by after the control had already started diminish the fine?

Wouldn't it either a) not work (leaving the fine at the original amount) or b) completely eliminate the fine (if the transport authorities fell for it)????

Posted by
40 posts

I have spent many weeks in Paris, using the Metro and Metrobus exclusively. Never had a problem showing my Navigo Decouverte or my ticket.

Incidentally, in New York City, there are buses called "Select" which you board with a prepaid transfer or ticket (and no checking upon boarding). From time to time, MTA inspectors board the bus and ask for your ticket. If you have one, good. If not, look for a $100 fine. They are not targeting tourists, and neither is Paris.

I realize that the rules in Paris are in French, but you need to follow the rules... I'll bet that you remember this lesson.

Posted by
20632 posts

I doubt if we will heard from the OP again since it appears his single purpose was posting a rant that blamed everyone but themselves. Since this was his first posting I assume he had not spent anytime here or he would have been more aware of fare checking on transit systems. At first I was somewhat sympathetic to his situation but a second reading raised a few question. Upon a third reading I am now thinking that they tried to beat the system and got caught. So the big rant.

The posting has some holes. So you put the carnet in the validation machine and then blithey throw it away - joyfully throw it away?? Since you don't have to use it go through a turnstile, common sense would seem to indicate that you need to keep it to prove that you paid. And if you are standing on a platform being checked I really doubt that another American tourist would slip you their ticket and say, "That happen to us yesterday." If I was that tourist I would be looking to make sure I knew where my ticket is in case there is another check point ahead. The one time we were checked it was coming up an exit ramp with several several officers across the ramp asking for tickets. Everyone was kind of flashing their ticket and I doubt if they could tell if the ticket had been stamped or not. Just held up the ticket, they nodded and we keep walking. But there were several people off to the side having a more serious discussion with an officer. I don't see how you could call that "selective enforcement." We have selective enforcement in this country all the time. Just ask the minority communities.

Then calling the American embassy. Who even carries that number? Sounds like a little extra to make the story better.

Besides emphasizing the need to retain your transit ticket - anywhere - rfmeissner's greater point is that you have an obligation to know how the system works. You cannot rely on the excuse that I am an unaware American tourist and therefore should be left off the hook. If you have any doubts about how the system works, ask some one. Cheaper in the long run. And that has been illustrated by many postings on this site from the TL zones and speed camera in Italy to buses in Prague.

Posted by
2731 posts

Since you don't have to use it go through a turnstile

Yes you do, the ticket opens a large gate thingy much like a turnstile and it is not something validated at a validation machine, it gets spit out back at you like DC metro or SF BART somewhat franked, and you have to take it for the gate to open. My wife and I had to lay out tickets and study them for several seconds to see the faint marks on the used ones. I am sure that a person could present unused tickets to the police and they would have taken them as used, since used and unused can be indistinguishable.

Posted by
5703 posts

I think the poster meant that once in the system you don't have to use them to go through a turnstile. The metro does not use exit turnstiles, so once you are in, you dn't need the ticket again UNLESS you are checked. The RER is metered and you need the ticket to exit, but not the metro.

Posted by
2731 posts

I doubt anyone would call the Paris metro entry gate a "validation machine."

Posted by
5703 posts

Tom the used tickets are not only marked with ink they are magnetically marked; the enforcement people can read them with their hand held devices to see when they were validated. The turnstile or gate is a 'validation machine' for the metro and it is hard to imagine how someone enters the metro without validating the ticket if they didn't intend to cheat. (I was envisioning them all walking through the luggage, handicapped gate when one person validated and opened it as a possibility as they would then not have validated their own tickets)

Posted by
6047 posts

Why do tourists who get caught not obeying local laws always think that the authorities are 'targeting' tourists? Rail/metro/bus authorities in all localities are targeting those who choose to ignore the laws in order to avoid a small payment at the risk of being slapped with a big fine. Ignorance is no excuse, know the laws before using the system or pay the price.

Posted by
1029 posts

OP, sorry to hear about your unfortunate introduction into how the Paris metro system works. It does serve as a useful reminder to travelers to understand how to use transit systems before riding.

FWIW, It's not unheard of for local authorities to "tax" visitors for a local benefit. If you rented a car at SEA airport a fee was (is?) charged to help fund the stadium. Las Vegas recently had a hotel room tax passed to help fund a stadium for the NFL Raiders. There are probably more examples.

ETA: I am not saying that Paris in particular is trying to do this.

Posted by
6047 posts

Taxing visitors is a lot different from fining them for not obeying laws. Hotel, facility, and use taxes (aimed at visitors/tourists) are common everywhere. But fines for misusing a transit system are aimed at everyone and, believe me, the locals use those systems a lot more than tourists do.

Posted by
1846 posts

From time to time I have had my transit tickets checked in Paris, London and Denver, Colorado. I really don't think tourists are singled out anywhere. I know it was an expensive learning experience but I bet most if not all of us reading this thread will have valid tickets when riding any city's public system. I am happy to have the Budapest reminder since I'll be there this late summer and fall!

Posted by
40 posts

I agree with all the other posters...Seriously its your responsibility to know the rules and laws of the country you are visiting. If you get caught out, own up to it, pay your fine, and remember it for next time. I'm American and have lived in Australia for nearly 10 years. This sort of whinging, ignorance, and sense of entitlement gives American tourists a bad rap and I am frankly quite embarrassed by it.

Sydney has a debit card type metro pass and you top up your account. You swipe on before you board and swipe off when you exit and the system will calculate and deduct your fare based on the zones you travelled. Transit officers will periodically check cards on the train...even at rush hr morning commutes. I had a long day at work once, didnt have enough $$ on my card, but just boarded anyway bc I just wanted to get home. I got caught out....got a warning but the took a photo of my drivers license and if it happens again I get an on the spot fine of $200. Most transit systems around the world work in a similar fashion.

So no, you as an American tourist you were not targeted. Follow the rules and you will be fine. If you feel you're a special snowflake and the laws of the country in which you are a visitor should not apply to you, then do us a favour and stay home. Just sayin'....

Posted by
20632 posts

What is interesting is the nearly identical rant concerning enforcement and fines running in the Italy section. Only difference?? This is one is about transit fines and the other is about traffic fines and how poor American tourists are target for unreasonable enforcement. Whether it is transit or traffic, you have to obey the rules.

Posted by
7146 posts

Jenn, so agree with you.

What bothers me most about this guy and his crew is the Ugly American behavior.

I see it too frequently in Paris and it disgusts me.

Posted by
12103 posts

I am sure this happened to others too in the Paris Metro, more than once or twice to me. There have been times when I had to get luggage through the turnstile after inserting the Metro ticket, as usually, but I got stuck in the turnstile with my suitcase. To get out of that predicament, I had to use a second Metro to activate the turnstile so that I could push it through. The worst part is you're holding up the line. Good to have a spare ticket handy instead using the very last one....yes, the joys of traveling in Paris.

Posted by
30970 posts

I vaguely recall that I've had to use my Metro ticket to exit the Metro stations as well. According to Paris By Train.....

"To exit the fare paid zone within stations you’ll either pass through exit turnstiles (look for green lights on the face of the turnstiles or for open gates) or through doors opened by pressure plates or infrared sensors."

That's one reason I always keep my tickets close at hand, and never discard them.

Posted by
4654 posts

Ken - you normally need to put your ticket in a gate to exit the RER, but not the Metro. It's because the Metro has a flat fare, while the RER has distance-based fares so both an entry and exit check are necessary.

Posted by
2731 posts

Fred: yes we have had same problem. We had one person go ahead then passed all the bags over to that person (tall son) because as you said it's quite difficult to get through with a bag.

Posted by
5703 posts

I got stuck in an RER gate at Gare du Nord coming in on the RER one time as I pushed my bag ahead of me; I was complete caught. Someone could have taken the bag and I would have not been able to do a thing. My husband alerted an employee who rescued me. There are luggage, wheelchair bypass gates many places so either use those or hold the luggage up or pass it over to a companion.

And you NEVER have to use a ticket to exit the metro, but you do the RER since the trips are of varying costs and lengths and so you have to show that you have a ticket for the trip you are on. The metro is one size fits all -- the tickets take you anywhere it goes regardless of zone.

Posted by
379 posts

Most likely the OP is no longer reading this post, because I suspect he is the type to not accept any criticism.
The sad part is what did his kids learn from this? Certainly not to accept responsibility for their mistakes.

But we have a fine example of that with our Cry-Baby-In-Chief.

Posted by
12103 posts

As Mick Jagger sang in their version of the R&B song, "Mercy, Mercy," "shed those tears."

Posted by
30970 posts

Philip,

Thanks for the clarification on the exit procedure from Metro stations. It's been a few years so I couldn't remember whether it was an RER or Metro station.

Michelle,

To digress from the topic, the "Cry-Baby-In-Chief" seems most annoyed with us at the moment. I suspect he might change his tune once he learns the facts.

Posted by
20632 posts

Unfortunately that makes the assumption that he is interested in learning the facts.

Posted by
7146 posts

Never gonna happen. Never has, never will.

Posted by
490 posts

Well, when one is in another country, one follows the laws. It is your responsiblity to KNOW the laws. Like not touching anything at the green grocer! LOL

They are not targeting tourists. They do routine checks for all passengers. Tourists often play the " I didn't know card". Locals try to game the system by not paying at all.

Why would anyone negoiate or argue with police officers? This 35 euro fine rose to the level of calling the American Embassy?

Wait until you go to London...no tickee no exit!

Posted by
12103 posts

"...not touching anything at the green grocer." In Germany at the farmers' markets there are signs posted among the fruits/vegetables not telling you not to touch, "Nicht anfassen !" or "Nicht berühen !"

Posted by
10831 posts

Hey, its not just France.

•Each person needs his/her own SmarTrip® card to enter and exit
Metrorail.

Apparently the WDC Metro is targeting French tourists who might not be aware of the requirement. It is absolutely disgusting when a metro system enforces archaic rules that disregard all that tourism does for their town. They should be paying us to ride their metro line. But you and I both know, the metro lines would be free if they didn't think they could scam tourists.

Someone mentioned that Budapest does the same despicable things. I can attest that they are correct. For every time I was checked getting on the metro I was checked twice when getting off the metro. Ugly, ugly thing. And once I even had to pay a fine when I didn't validate the ticket properly. Can you imagine that. After all we do for these countries you would think they would be more appreciative.