Friday, April 10, 2009

Riga public transport wardens are pigs!

Diena carries a report (in Latvian) by a woman who arrived with a planeload of Italian tourists at Riga Airport. Most of them (young people) took the no. 22 bus to the city center, basically  "the airport bus" . The bus was stopped by a group of public transport wardens (whose job, as in other European cities, is to check for riders without tickets) who stormed aboard, one of them waving a baton, and immediately started terrorizing the Italians, who had not paid (nor been asked to pay when buying tickets from the driver) a fee for larger luggage (n0 such charges, as far as I know, in any civilized country). There was no sign in English explaining this fee. The Italians were threatened with a 15 LVL fee (around USD 30) on their first day in Latvia.
Comments to the Diena piece indicate that this kind of barbaric, piggish scum also work on other parts of the public transport in Riga. The next time there is disorder in this city, perhaps the offices of Rīgas Satiksme (Riga Public Transport) should earn a few paving stones? :) Or better yet, that passengers throw the pig-wardens off the bus, rather than vice-versa. 
The next time I read that someone has punched out a transport warden, I will not get too upset (OK, chances are, it will be some lowlife fare evader, but what the heck...).


Nils said...

The only consolation that I can think of is that the same goes for Italian railway officers, for example. I've witnessed a British tourist in her third trimester being ripped off a huge fine near Venice, even though she had bought a ticket -- but had failed to notice that it should be time-stamped before travel. Let's hope the tourists were a bunch of Italian railway people on holiday! ;)

Romans said...

Once I experienced a totally different attitude, while traveling by train in Switzerland. I bought a return ticket in a machine without realizing that one has to make the return trip on the same day. It was close to midnight when the guy passed to check tickets. He looked at mine and asked whether I really intended to make the return trip the same night. When I said no, he took the ticket and wrote on the back of it an authorization to use it the next day for the return trip, with his name and all. I was amazed. This story suggests that they don't have to be pigs by definition, it is a choice.

Anonymous said...

I was charged single ticket for myself once and two tickets for my luggage which took up just half of the place in bus of that what I occupied. I obviosly asked why am I charged so much for the luggage but stone-faced conductor couldn't answer just begged for more money. Then I joked that she had to charge 4 tickets for me and 2 for my luggage according to logic but she didn't get it. If these are the rules they have in place it is not funny at all... But I avoid taking taxi also because drivers are ignorant and riped me off before. I was taken to wrong address once, I had to direct driver where to go, of course no refund was given, not even rebate...Next thing I want to avoid is going to Latvia. Sad.

Mārtiņš K. said...

This is not the only strange country. Some similarities can be found in Germany - I found out that there actually is a first class subway car. The only thing that indicates this is surprisingly silent passengers and a small blue sticker with number "1" on the wall. Luckily the traffic warden was kind enough and did knew English as well, so I left the first class and joined the second/low/whatever class without paying any penalties.

Talis said...

I hated public transport in Toronto, never mind Riga. But in the 16 years here, I cant say I have ever had any problems or witnessed any that were bad.
The "wardens" are a low income occupations requiring no skills whatsoever. So who do you think applies for these jobs?
Rigas Satiksme still has a long way to go before they become a user-friendly service.