and the
evils of

If you are a BBC Radio 4 listener you may have heard about how the Swiss railway is making over a million Swiss Franks a month by fining passengers for travelling without a valid ticket.

The station ticket machines are frequently out of order but this is never an excuse. Boarding a train without a valid ticket is a fine of £130, no ifs, buts or maybe’s.

Take the case of the BBC reporter. She got to the station to find the ticket machine was out of order and so, with a great deal of difficulty, she bought her ticket using her mobile phone.

Fine you may think. But unfortunately for her, although she bought her ticket before boarding the train, the credit card company did not transfer the funds to the Swiss railway company until four minutes after the train had departed the station and that meant that the BBC reporter was guilty of boarding a train without a valid ticket and had to pay a fine of £130.

So if you’re thinking of going to Switzerland for a holiday, you’d better watch out! But what starts in highly respectable Switzerland often finds its way to other parts of Europe, so watch out again! If you’re going to any part of Europe on holiday, it could soon be you who is paying a heavy fine because a ticket machine was out of order.

Capitalism loves self-regulation because all that extra income derived from fines means a lot juicy performance bonuses for the CEO and other executives.

---February 2, 2013---

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