Saturday, June 19, 2010

Passport Inspection

Actually, it wasn't a passport inspection, it was an on-train ticket inspection.

First of all, I wish to make my position entirely clear. Within reason, Chiltern Railways can check my train ticket as often as they like. I pay the railway company over £3,500 per year for my season ticket and I think that fare dodgers are scum. They should be caught. sucked into as many civil and criminal justice systems as is possible and spat out of the other end, in bits.

Sorry, I rant.

Yesterday's ticket inspection was a little different. It was a woman I have never seen before, carrying none of the normal 'Revenue Protection Officer' paraphernalia. That was left to an accompanying 'regular' colleague.

She examined each and every season ticket, compared the details on the ticket with the information on the accompanying photo card, and then looked each passenger in the eye to check that the photo card was theirs. Very thorough and a trifle unnerving.

It looked and felt like a check against fraudulent travel (ie forged travel documents or using travel documents belonging to someone else), rather than the usual ticket check.

I wonder who the woman was. I wonder whether she caught anyone? I wonder whether we shall ever see her again?

Compare and contrast with this evening. I am obviously 'known'. The ticket inspector on the train tonight (more of them about than usual, probably because of the 'Green Day' concert at Wembley Stadium) walked past me quickly, saying "hello" before moving into the next section of the train. Now, even though I know plenty of the staff by name I always offer my ticket when I should - tonight I simply wasn't given the chance. Actually, I'm quite chuffed.

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