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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

I've (not) got a ticket to ride.

I've been following the 'Big Man' story with some interest.
I'm not the only one here in Scotland to do so, and as the news has went global I presume that people from warmer climes like Iceland, Norway and Finland are also checking out our vigilante hero on youtube to.
Initially, and similar to the vast majority, I thought 'go'an yersel' big man. The wee toe rag deserves it', but then I stopped my knee jerking and thought about it a bit.
Yes of course the young man was in the wrong, and of course his reaction to the demand of the train fare was out of order.
I don't think anyone would dispute that, and there's nothing in what he did that I wish to defend, but was the reaction to his behaviour a bit over the top?
Could the situation have been dealt with differently?
I think it could have been.
I've read that all the ticket inspectors have had training in conflict resolution.
I didn't see any of it in practice so I'll presume that the ticket inspector missed that course.
His attitude was pretty poor and in no way helped to solve what was a minor problem.
In fact all he did was increase the tension and focus a great deal of negative ire on the young lad.
None of which is going to lead to a positive outcome for anyone.
It's easy to say that if he had just paid up then there would have been no need for what happened to be the outcome.
That's true.
It's also just as easy to say that the inspector could have called ahead and had the transport police waiting, and in doing this he would have avoided the delay, the assault, and the ensuing issues that may, or may not, lead to the 'big man' being charged with the assault.
That's also equally as true.
Out of the two options what one seems to be the best though?
I'm not going to tear into the inspector though.
It was a poor judgement call and I wouldn't want to do his job.
As someone who has used public transport a great deal through out my life I can assure you that there is nothing pleasant about getting the last train or bus home.
Seats are filled with those who are the worse for wear after their long night of hitting the bars and clubs, and very often the alcohol consumed is a catalyst for the worst of attitudes to be revealed.
I couldn't tell you how many times a ticket collector has walked down the aisle shouting 'tickets please' to everyone except the group of drunken middle aged men who are growling at anyone who casually glances in their direction.
This is equally the case for the lone brutish half wit who is singing the Sash to himself to.
These types seem to have a magical travel card that entitles them to a free journey, and in all honesty I'm not going to gripe about it as similarly I would think twice about approaching them.
I genuinely don't blame the guys on the coal face for choosing discretion over valour in those circumstances.
The thing is though..........if they can get off with it then why can't one lad on his own?
Was he the straw that broke the camels back, or just an easier target than those that I've mentioned?
I don't know the answer, but I do know that this is a fuck up and the events that unfurled aren't something to be celebrated.
I've been told that the difference between a return and a single fare is 10p.
If that's accurate then can anyone really say that they are honestly okay with how this was dealt with?
Even if someone had stepped forward and offered to pay for a full single journey for the lad it would still have come in as a less expensive outcome than the possible fine that the 'big guy' may get.
It would also be far cheaper than the court costs that you and I may have to collectively pay for.
That more positive intervention could also have provided the young man with an example of how a compassionate attitude is preferable to an aggressive foul mouthed one to.
So now in the cold light of day and without the need to bow to peer pressure can I ask if this is really the Scotland we want to promote to the world?
One that's full of people who are happy to make snap judgements and react on them?
I feel a bit sorry for the 'Big Man', the inspector and the lad who was a bit of an arse.
There's no winners here.

1 comment:

  1. Jimmy Logan

    On another train with another ticket inspector the outcome would have been so so different. This is just one minor/ unimportant example of day to day life on the transport system within the UK. As far as I am lead to believe the ticket inspector should have taken his details and a bill for the journey + an extra charge would have been forwarded to his address. End of story - no more drama!!! The have a go (Big Man) hero was very much in the wrong as was the ticket inspector for granting him (Big Man) the right to assume the role the B.T.P. by giving him permission to remove the young man from the train and furthermore for not making sure the said big man did so in a lawful and acceptable manner. I can't help but, observe the ticket inspector actions by the language he employed and the manner in which he made his soliloquy to the whole carriage, that deep down the out come that happened was the one he wanted to happen and as such he should be sacked on the spot. For both of them assumed reverse roles that they had no right to assume. You know, The British Transport Police are there for a reason. As the big man is about to discover. More worryingly, is it the case that now we have to be subjected to the mundane videos made by anyone with a camera on their phone. Can it really be the case that the media outlets don't have anything else more newsworthy or important issues to cover? In the last few weeks the media seems to be focusing on events happening on trams, trains and buses. What will they decide is important next week? While they distract us with this pile of pish, there's more important issues facing us today that are going unreported. These are real issues we should be focusing on. It's First Scotrail's problem not ours, let them get on with it, sorting it out and dealing with the culprits.