It’s hard to say exactly how many passengers on trains and buses across South Tyrol “dodge” paying the fare – but one thing we do know is how many of them get caught: In response to a parliamentary enquiry, South Tyrol Minister for Mobility Daniel Alfreider recently published a set of data referring back to 2018 and 2019.
But first – some key facts and figures: Every day, some 7000 bus and train journeys carry a whopping 70,000-100,000 passengers across and around all of South Tyrol. That’s more than 54 million ticket check-ins in 2019 alone. On all of these services, on-board staff are in charge of checking at random whether or not passengers carry a valid, checked-in ticket and, if necessary, issue a fine.
According to the data now released by the mobility department of the South Tyrolean government, in 2019 the transport operator SAD for instance issued a total of 921 fines on trains, buses and cable cars, which amounted to approx. EUR 33,000. In contrast, 1193 fare evasion penalties handed out in 2018 racked up EUR 42,000. The majority of these fare evaders were fined on trains.
Another partner, the bus operator LiBUS, inspected tickets on almost 2400 vehicles in 2019 and issued 621 fines worth some EUR 12,000 – yet another slight increase compared to the 637 fare evasion incidents sanctioned in 2018.
National rail operator Trenitalia saw a total of 1402 “fare dodgers” caught and punished on its trains in the last two years. In addition, in 2019 Trenitalia staff confiscated 266 subscriptions and passes due to fraudulent or otherwise unlawful use.
Whether fare evasion is a problem or not in South Tyrol may ultimately be a question of perspective. One key insight that did emerge, however, is the fact that the bulk of passengers duly check in and validate their ticket – and they do so in their own best interest, as Mobility Minister Alfreider stressed: “Revenues from tickets, annual subscriptions and passes are the foundation of a functioning and modern public mobility service system. In other words, travelling with a valid and properly checked-in ticket ultimately benefits you as passenger, too.”