Greetings from a ticket inspector: buy your mobile ticket in time!

Buying tickets using a mobile phone is constantly increasing in popularity. Most of us always have our phones with us, and getting a mobile ticket is fast and easy, even if no ticket machines or kiosks happen to be nearby.

Ticket inspector Pirjo Kangasmäki reminds us of the shared rules governing mobile tickets that ease both the travel of our customers and the work of our inspectors. The most important rule is to buy the mobile ticket in time.

“The ticket must on your phone before you get on a bus, commuter train, or tram. When travelling on the Metro and the Suomenlinna ferry, the ticket must be on your phone before you enter the platform area or the ferry pier,” Pirjo says, summarizing the basic rules.

 “Usually getting a ticket happens without problems. However, a passenger will sometimes not buy a ticket before seeing the inspector, and that usually leads to a penalty fare. The most common excuse for the late purchase of a ticket is lack of time. I would recommend buying a ticket too early rather than too late. Our tickets have long validity periods. Even if the ticket expires while you are on board a vehicle, you may travel to your destination with the same ticket.”

“If you have bought a mobile ticket, you must be able to show the ticket through the entire journey. The battery needs to be sufficiently charged and the display needs to be intact so we can read the ticket with our device. With season tickets, if we are unable to read the ticket from the phone, the penalty fare can be cancelled later at our penalty fares office.” 

Pirjo also points out that a mobile season ticket is always personal. “You may not let your spouse use it, for example, or travel with anyone else's ticket.”

Inspecting tickets is work for the common good

The work of a ticket inspector requires an eye for the game and an ability to read different kinds of situations. “Sometimes there are situations in which a customer cannot buy a ticket because of a memory disorder, for example. In such situations we do not issue a penalty fare, and we try to sell them a ticket. Section 10 of the Penalty Fare Act lists reasons not to impose a penalty fare.”

So why are tickets inspected in the first place? “We inspectors do our work on behalf of the great majority who conscientiously buy their tickets. Lost ticket revenue leaves a big dent in the funding of public transport”, Pirjo says.  

In recent years, fare dodging has led to losses of about ten million euros a year. “If everyone bought a ticket, there would be more money available for the development of public transport. That would mean better services and possibly cheaper tickets as well. Inspecting tickets is work for the common good.” 

Pirjo has worked as a ticket inspector since the beginning of 2017. “I was surprised at how much more was involved in the work than just inspecting tickets. We call for help for those suffering sudden illnesses, we pick up found items, and we bring people who are lost and who have memory disorders to the police for help. We have even taken runaway dogs to safety from the midst of traffic. These were just a few examples”.

“We are also asked about routes and timetables every day, and we are happy to give the information. When I am asked if I work in customer service, my answer is an unqualified ‘yes’”.