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Kraków’s Tram Network Scam

3 posts
Kraków’s Tram Network Scam

Kraków’s Tram Network – You’re more likely to get robbed by plain clothes ticket inspectors than pickpockets!

We have just returned from a 5 day visit to Kraków where our experience was more than delightful but for one miserable and utterly horrendous experience we had on our single journey on the tram number 3 from Kazimierz to the vicinity of Kraków Old Town on Tuesday 9th January 2018 at approximately 9pm.

This was our first time in Poland. We purchased tickets BEFORE we boarded the tram unknowing to ‘validate the tickets’. As soon as we boarded tram number 3, we were almost immediately seized upon by two ‘ticket inspectors’ who demanded we pay a fine of nearly 300 Polish Zlotys simply because we didn't validate the tickets. Clear, visible public information and deterrents should be accessible to all and everywhere so that no one is deceived or misled. It is not sufficient to say that the need for validation is printed on the actual tickets – and in 4 different languages. The tickets are small, fiddly and not easy to read if one needs glasses.

We refused to pay the unwarranted fine and were subsequently marched off the tram like criminals several stops later where I continued to protest. After several phone calls by an aggressive ticket inspector, the police arrived on a blue light in a riot van shortly followed by two more ticket inspectors. We were told the fine was mandatory. We reluctantly paid the fine after 45 mins of protesting. It took the resources of two police officers and four ticket inspectors to extort money from a tourist couple. The ticket inspectors disappeared as quickly as they had appeared as soon as the money had been force from us. We were simply abandoned late at night somewhere between Kazimierz and Kraków Old Town. According to local knowledge, these are state sponsored thugs who target tourists on popular tram routes earning commission on fines and this is the common tactic. Commission based fines simply intensifies this kind of unforgiving thuggish behaviour. This greedy ‘fine’ is unacceptable and now leaves us with a bitter experience of your City. Such primitive and disgusting tactics to mine money from tourists fall well below Western culture standards.

Our firm impression now of Kraków is that we will never return to Poland again - there are better places to visit in Europe. Although Kraków has been westernised, the authorities in Poland still possess a post-Soviet attitude.

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63 replies to this topic
York, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
971 posts
101 reviews
41. Re: Kraków’s Tram Network Scam

Last year I used public transport in Edinburgh, Scotland - and the system was very different to the area where I live. I seem to recall it's a standard fee per journey, and you can pay the driver in cash if you wish but no change is given. Anyway, I read the notices on the sides of the buses and understood this before I made my first trip.

Over the course of half a century (!) I've used public transport in Paris, Brussels, Prague, Vienna, Malta, a number of cities in the USA, lots of places in Germany, oh and let's not forget Krakow, and what I find truly astonishing is... I have NEVER been fined or accused of travelling without a valid ticket! Am I just permanently lucky - or maybe it's just because I find out about the system BEFORE I use it!

East Lothian, UK
Level Contributor
294 posts
189 reviews
42. Re: Kraków’s Tram Network Scam

Stefan. It is your responsibility to research and understand the rules before you use public transport. In that sense, public transport is no different from private transport. If you drove a car in a foreign country, you wouldn't expect to see all the traffic legislation displayed, yet you complain because you don't think your ticket, which tells you what you need to know, is sufficient.

I'm with WillieEckerslike on this one.

Level Contributor
3 posts
69 reviews
43. Re: Kraków’s Tram Network Scam

I'm Polish but have not lived in Poland until a year ago and I agree with you. They should have just let you go as a warning, especially since you were a visitor. Sadly the 'warning' mentality does not exist here from authorities. 300zl was also expensive, my friend got charged 100zl.

I was not aware my first time that I needed to validate my ticket, so my first tram ride I guess I got lucky.

The police also target people on bicycles trying to catch if you have been drinking with a pretty big price tag after just two beers. I agree it's so they get money, Polish people are aware and aren't exactly happy with such behavior from authorities targeting the pockets of the common man instead of criminals.

Krakow, Poland
Level Contributor
2,429 posts
65 reviews
44. Re: Kraków’s Tram Network Scam

So the common man that breaks the law isn't a criminal !!!!!!!!

Where do you draw the line?

Level Contributor
3 posts
69 reviews
45. Re: Kraków’s Tram Network Scam

Maybe invest more of their time and in actually pursuing actions that endanger the public like drunk driving instead of sending resources for a man who actually bought a tram ticket and had good intentions. Is it wrong to question policies?? I think not.

Kraków
Destination Expert
for Krakow
Level Contributor
755 posts
3 reviews
46. Re: Kraków’s Tram Network Scam

„a pretty big price tag after just two beers”

Let's be precise. It's the same treatment you will get for drinking and driving a car – and it's not based on the amount of alcohol you drank, but on the measured amount of alcohol in your breath/blood. And, last time I checked, we don't have „zero tolerance” in Poland (unfortunately), so if two beers result in alcohol level not permitted by Polish law – maybe you should skip one of them or don't drive/bike.

Warsaw, Poland
Level Contributor
307 posts
1 review
47. Re: Kraków’s Tram Network Scam

I think 'criminal' is a too strong word, i'd call them 'deliquents'. Rideing without a valid ticket is rather a civil infraction than a real crime. But still, should be fined mercilessly. No jail time, though ;-)

Kraków
Destination Expert
for Krakow
Level Contributor
755 posts
3 reviews
48. Re: Kraków’s Tram Network Scam

„instead of sending resources for a man who actually bought a tram ticket and had good intentions”

Police resources are called by tram inspector only if necessary – when the identification is needed or person without valid ticket refuses to accept the penalty. So please, accept the penalty when you did something wrong and don't waste Polish police resources. ;)

dallas tx.
Level Contributor
4,768 posts
32 reviews
49. Re: Kraków’s Tram Network Scam

so these inspectors have to divine who had good intentions and who didn't?.....all those foreign languages to master.....when I have seen them in action,they look kinda busy already.

Krakow, Poland
Destination Expert
for Krakow
Level Contributor
3,399 posts
9 reviews
50. Re: Kraków’s Tram Network Scam

Katie K - if you really were a Pole you would know that no one in this country believes in good intentions.

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