Fare Dodge

The Entertaining Regional Trains on the Adriatic Coast – September 2013
Very entertaining. Slower and comfortingly less smelly than an Inter City. Considerably less costly than the Freccia Bianca, the stopping trains that run down the Adriatic coast between Ancona and Pescara.
One of the Regional Trains (Treno Regionale) taken telephoto, the white spots are presumably insects and rubbish that are being thrown up by the moving train. This is the only unit of this type on this line I think, mostly the trains are longer and with an engine at one end. I have travelled on this unit and one set of doors was not working, which caused some running about and chaos; fun to see.
The regional trains are used by the abulanti abusivi, the itinerant beach traders, to get from wherever they live or are staying, to the beaches where they hope their customers will be, customers for the trinkets and toys that they make their meagre living by selling.
This in itself would only be mildly amusing, a man getting on the train carrying an armful of rolled umbrellas is different, when you think about it, from London up until the 1970s when it was customary for someone to carry only one, but it is more than that, for a large number of the traders are Sinhalese, and as well carrying an armful of umbrellas they are very short, and as well as being very short they also seem to have a cultural aversion to paying their fare.
It is not as if the fares are expensive. The single fare from San Benedetto del Tronto to Pescara is only €4.30 and most of the traders do not travel anywhere near as far as that hour-long journey, most go a few stations that would cost a couple of euros at most. But they try and get away with it.
From what I have observed the African traders pay. It is the Sinhalese who try not to, and possibly it is a cultural heritage, part of a great game that you are brought up to play as part of your tradition, that you do not think is out of the ordinary.
But it drives the Italian train managers to rage and anger, and what looks very like a fair dollop of racism. So really the fare-dodging traders should be told not to, though I don’t know who by.
The train manager comes along the train to check tickets, and the first you notice of this is the Sinhalese traders moving down the train in some haste, to change seats ahead of him, hoping that he will be detained by dealing with other fare-dodging itinerant traders, which is what happens as often as not.
‘Scendi!’, says the angry train manager waving his hand in the direction of the doors, ‘Paga cinquanta euro o si scendi!‘. Pay a fifty-euro fine or get off!
And at the next station the train manager ensures that the miscreant trader definitely does get off the train, leaving him on the platform until the next train comes along, which on this line is at a most uneven interval; it could be soon, or it could be hours.
And then the train manager tries to catch the next one, and throw him off the train. Usually the trader will have a ticket of sorts, but not a valid one, and hopes that the person checking the tickets will not be too diligent.
But the train managers recognise some of the persistent offenders, and home in on them as soon as they get on the train.
Sometimes the ‘Controllo di Sicurezza’ man gets on the train, he has a briefcase and a pass with his photo on and a pointy beard and his sunglasses pushed up to the top of his head, but quite what use he is to the train manager is not quite clear.
We have seen fare-dodgers taken off the train by the police, but it seems that finding their address, and tracking them down for a fine even if you have their address, is beyond anyone’s capabilities right at the moment.
So for the decorum and repose of Italian society this is a troublesome mess that no one seems quite sure to know what to do about. While for us, it certainly beats going to the theatre. And costs less.
Negotiating with your pants down. An Asian beach trader showing his wares of earrings and baubles to a woman who was in the process of packing up from her day at the beach, this meant that she undertook this transaction with her trousers down about her knees, which is a funny picture, if you think about it.
The Asian traders see lots of women with next to nothing on, but when the woman finally said no, she didn’t want to buy anything, and got up to pull up her trousers, the man seemed spellbound as she wriggled her ample bottom to squeeze her way into them. The railway line is behind those railings beyond the palm trees.

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