Our Stories: My Bus Ticket Horror!
Interested to know if they really do sort people who dodge fares? Well read on!
How it all started ..
Three days before the incident, I went to school, this was on a Friday. One of my mates told me that they have got a one-year travel card that he made from his computer. He showed it to me ad it looked very realistic. Then he asked me if I would want to buy it from him for ten pounds and I replied, ’you know that one!’ He also told me that I could only use the card for getting on buses and not on trains because he couldn’t tamper with the magnetic strip on the back; it was from an old used card. So I gave him the ten pounds and he gave me the card. What a stupid thing to do, but lets face it, most teenagers in my position would do the same thing. The only thing that went through my head at the time was ‘free bus fare for a year, wow.’
How I got caught..
Two days later on the Sunday morning, I was on my way to this football competition. I got on the first bus using the pass and I got away with it. However, on the second bus there was an inspector. I got on and I didn’t know. The bus inspector came downstairs where I was and I got so scared that you could literally hear my heart beat. The bus inspector asked the people in front of me for their tickets and as he was getting closer, my heart thumped louder and louder. When he asked me for my ticket, I pulled out the counterfeit. He looked at me funny and when I asked him to give it back he refused. He then asked the bus driver to stop the bus and he asked me to give him my name and address. Hen he called the police to confirm the details I’ve given. Afterwards the police and the bus inspector let me get off the bus and I went to the football competition.
Breaking the news to my parents..
On that Sunday, I chose not to tell them, thinking that they might not find out. A couple of months down the line, I get a letter telling me that London Buses are going to take legal action against me, I’ve never felt so shocked. I then had to tell them and I will never forget their faces. They both got angry and shouted at me for at least four hours. If they were not silent, they were shouting.
The Court Case..
I was fined a fine of £150 and was given a Referral Order*. The Panel were really lenient as it was my first offence. * A Referral Order is given to first time offenders by the Youth Justice Courts. It requires the young person and their parent(s) to meet members of the local community, together with the victim of the crime, and together agree suitable reparation to make up for the effects of the crime, for example paying back the victim or community in some way.
The moral of the story is..
Compare paying a fine of £150 to a bus fare which costs 70p, plus you having lost your parents trust. In a way, I have lost so much more than I ever thought I’d win. After I told my parents, the interaction in my house changed completely. I felt isolated in my own home. Now I know not to cheat the system because whatever I do, I will always in one way or another get caught. Don’t do what I did; better to be safe than sorry, ’trust me.’
George from Newham, age 17