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is it worth disputing train fine?

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My son, who has just moved to Munich to study, received a 60 euro fine on a train.  He had the kind of ticket that is good for ten trips and is punched each time you take a trip.  He has been using this type of ticket for the past two weeks without any problems.  On this occasion, he had punched the ticket as always, and the ticket was valid for the route he was on.  However, the inspector (who spoke English) said that he had punched the ticket 'in the wrong order', or 'upside down.'  In other words, he had put the ticket in the machine so that trip 10 was punched first, instead of trip 1.  He tried to argue with the inspector and the inspector seemed sympathetic and suggested he go to the main office, where they might change the fine to only 7 euros.  However, at the office, nobody spoke English, and when he tried to explain with his limited German what had happened, the woman just waved the ticket in his face saying 'falsch, falsch!' and insisted that he had to pay 60 euros.  She wouldn't listen to him or attempt to communicate with him at all.  He knows with absolute certainty that there was nothing wrong with the ticket or date stamp except for it having been punched 'upside down.'  He paid for his fare; however, he was treated like a criminal, and is very upset.  Is it worth trying to go back to the office with someone who speaks German so that that person can argue for him?  

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No. Don't bother. The ticket was invalidated by the way he punched it, hence is fine for not holding a valid ticket. It's been a while since I lived in Munich, but IIRC those tickets aren't necessarily good for 10 trips - some/most trips require the stamping/validation of more than one strips/stripes on the ticket for a single journey.  If you skip one stripe (e.g. stripe 1) and stamp the second one (e.g. stripe 2), you've validated the ticket for a single two-stripe journey. You can't go back and use stripe 1 for a different journey once stripe 2 is stamped. Hence, your son's ticket would have read as having been validated for a 10-stripe trip and therefore used up. (I forget whether Streifenkarte tickets can be shared, but if so, a 10-strip trip could have been taken (e.g. used for an Innenraum journey for 5 people, or a longer journey for fewer folks traveling together).  In any case, can't use the Streifenkarte once stripe 10 has been used, regardless of what has been stamped (or not) before.

The Germans would call that 60 Euro "Lehrgeld" - an expensive way to learn a lesson, but a lesson he won't soon forget.

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I would say yes.

 

Often such a thing would be considered just a misdemeanor administrative issue so the find should be a smaller fine to cover admin costs, such as the 7 euros you mentioned and to make a point.  After all he did purchase and stamp a valid ticket.

I don't know the tickets, but I would look at it and if it is not clear which way round it should be punched then I would also point this out.

You could also play up his lack of German (say he doesn't speak any), while talking to them in German.  And say that because he is just moved here he doesn't yet know all the subtleties of the ticketing system but you assure them that he "won't make that mistake again!"

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Most people buy weekly or monthly tickets, which are a good deal. If your son commutes daily, he should consider that too. Students get discounts. Now, foreign people often use the Streifenkarte wrong: they start with 10 instead of 1, which is at the bottom of the card. The arrow up is printed at 1 and repeated until 10. To me it is then clear where to start. PS-In the Netherlands it's the other way around.

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The tickets look like this:

 

Bildergebnis für mvv streifenkarte bild

 

- okay, so the photo is of an old, DM one, but it is quite clear in which direction on should stamp the tickets, since there are arrows at the side.

On this particular ticket, the even numbers have been stamped, which reads as the owner having made several two-zone trips.

 

Obviously, if the OP's son stamped the number 10 first, then it reads as having travelled through 10 zones.

 

I would suggest taking somebody along who can speak German, and have them try to explain what happened.

 

As Luke said, it is probably easier and cheaper to buy a monthly ticket, but then you have to be sure to carry it with you all of the time when travelling!

 

 

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5 minutes ago, robinson100 said:

As Luke said, it is probably easier and cheaper to buy a monthly ticket, but then you have to be sure to carry it with you all of the time when travelling!

Mankind invented a wallet fo that 🤗.

 

PS- 2 stripes is 1 zone!

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4 minutes ago, LukeSkywalker said:

 

PS- 2 stripes is 1 zone!

 

- it's been a while since I last used a Streifenkarte :), but I think you got the point I was trying to make!

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It's a while since I lived in Munich, so I don't remember - what is the maximum number of strips for a single trip?  I have a recollection that it is 8 but can someone confirm?  If it is 8 then it would be clear that he made a mistake.

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Confirmative. 8 strips means 4 zones and gets you e.g.  to the airport, but if you start the card from top for 1 zone, you punch it at 8 which reads 4 zones from bottom. Tricky, isn't it?

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60 Euros is pretty low to me. In Sydney it's $200+, that's a bit more than twice the amount. Speeding fines are even worse!

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49 minutes ago, YoRambo said:

it seems ..i have been stamping it upside down all the time...pheewww

 

It seems you have been incredibly lucky!!! :D

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1 hour ago, AndyHix said:

In Sydney it's $200+, that's a bit more than twice the amount. Speeding fines are even worse!

It's called a police state 🤔.

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45 minutes ago, Adem137 said:

Will germany ever modernize and get rid of these stupid systems?

I suspect things will change very, very, very slowly. Transport ticketing systems have proved massively expensive to replace and so long as the old one isn't completely unfit for service why take that organisational risk? In areas of Germany which are still government run and you have beamtete (what's the correct adjective here) employees, any efficiency changes don't really flow through the budget because you still have the same number of people and many of them might not have the skills to move elsewhere in the organisation/there is nothing else for them to do. 

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There's a lot to be said for a largely tax-funded and inclusive rail system.  Much of the money is sunk in advance.   Leaves less mopping up to do.   

 

Season tickets and employer passes enhance that further.   And bundling.  I don't routinely often have to pay for a local train ticket because it's included in something else - a family member or friend's season ticket at evenings and weekends, my football  or theatre ticket and lots lots more.   Or my business client pays.   When I buy a ticket locally and have to show it, I notice almost everyone else is flashing some sort of pass.  The students are all on passes and so on.    Kids here love their new Pupil Hesse Seasons - now running all over the state for 365 Euro and asking for ideas of where's the next good place to see.

 

I can see local transport becoming free at point of use here in some places that have cash.  At some point it will be better for the locale overall to just sink the block money in full.  You can see that emerging in Hesse transport policy especially adding in societal goals re environment and lifestyle. 

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On 04/10/2018, 17:52:43, swimmer said:

When I buy a ticket locally and have to show it, I notice almost everyone else is flashing some sort of pass.

 

Over here that's literal too.

 

90.9% of all public transport trips here in the Rhine-Neckar area are done using passes instead of individual payment tickets - out of about 310 million passengers. Which is one of the highest rates in Germany.

 

Individual payment is also used almost exclusively in the cities here, i.e. spontaneous urban travelling such as by tourists. In the countryside the quota of passengers using passes is above 99% (!).

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