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Need help regarding bus tickets in Bologna

Need help regarding bus tickets in Bologna

Apr 11th, 2017, 09:55 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2017
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Need help regarding bus tickets in Bologna

My family and I arrived in Bologna yesterday and needed to take the bus. We didn't know how the busses worked in Bologna so we boarded the bus and I immediately asked the driver how to purchase 7 tickets. He said something in Italian which I didn't understand, then told me to move since other people were trying to get on the bus. He then shut the bus door so I thought that we paid him when we got to our stop. Within 2 stops, 3 men had boarded and asked for our passports, I thought that we could buy the tickets from them. They took all our passport information and gave us EACH a ticket/fine for 66 euros that we must pay within 5 days. They said that since we did not buy our tickets in advance, that we had to each at a fine. If we don't pay within 5 days then, the amount will increase. Can anyone tell me if there is a way to get this fine reduced or does anyone have experience with what happens if we don't pay these fines? Please no lectures on being unaware in a foreign country, I have already beat myself up enough for not having read-up on busses in Bologna. I would have thought that there would be some common sense since I tried to ask the driver. We tried to purchase bus tickets, we just didn't know how. Thank you for any suggestions.
walkonthebeach is offline  
Apr 11th, 2017, 11:26 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 1,645
Quit kicking yourself! As tourist boo-boos go, this one is only potentially expensive.

I suggest you go to the tourist office in the piazza Maggiore and ask for assistance. It's possible they will tell you they can't help you since in most places in the modern world, once a ticket is written, local police do not have authority to rip up the ticket (similar to the US, where you want to talk a cop out of writing you a ticket before he puts pen to paper). These are anti-bribery regulations.

Part of your problem is that, heading into the Easter holidays, you might have difficulty reaching the authorities who can rip up the tickets, so don't delay in finding out who that is. You might be able to file paperwork contesting the fines.

If paying the fine isn't going to put you in the poorhouse, and you would rather not have the worry of whether you or other members of your family now have a "record" in Italy, then pay the fine. If you feel otherwise, personally, given all that is going on the world, I wouldn't think less of you for simply walking away. The steep fines were written into the law to preven locals from fearlessly gaming the system. The inspectors did have the discretion to not to fine you, and should have done the right thing in that regard. I wouldn't listen to people telling you that you have a moral obligation to pay. You've merely got a practical dilemma.
massimop is offline  
Apr 12th, 2017, 12:36 AM
  #3  
 
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Here's another thought: If you do have an opportunity to contest the tickets, one thing to point out is that the other members of your party were relying on you, and you misinterpreted the bus driver's words and actions. It's particularly abusive to the other members of your party that they all received summonses.

So sorry to hear your visit to Bologna took such an upsetting turn. With all the students off for Easter vacation, apparently the local constabulary has too much time on its hands. Hoping the tourist office takes an interest in giving you good guidance, even though they are not in a position to simply get rid of the tickets for you. Good luck!
massimop is offline  
Apr 12th, 2017, 04:23 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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>>>They took all our passport information and gave us EACH a ticket/fine for 66 euros that we must pay within 5 days.<<<

What ages were the children? Certain ages should be free.

You can pop in many stores (convenience types) and buy tickets.
kybourbon is offline  
Apr 12th, 2017, 04:42 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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And FYI, if you are going to other cities in Italy beyond Bologna, bus tickets are always purchased BEFORE you board the bus. There are booths at bus and train stations to purchase ticket. More often, you can purchase tickets a convenience store, tabacchi, or newsstand near the actual bus stop.

Once on the bus, you must stamp your ticket in the machine to validate it--stamping the date and time you began your trip. Bus tickets are good for unlimited rides in a certain amount of time—75 minutes or so.

In the OP's case, had they purchased tickets but not validated them, they would still have been subject to a fine. Not validating the ticket means you can use it again, so an unvalidated ticket implies you are trying to ride without paying.
ellenem is online now  
Apr 12th, 2017, 09:20 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
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>>And FYI, if you are going to other cities in Italy beyond Bologna, bus tickets are always purchased BEFORE you board the bus<<

This is simply not true. In Bologna there are most often machines on the bus itself from which anyone can purchase tickets AFTER boarding the bus. This is probably what the bus driver told walkonthebeach, instead of simply indicating the group should get off the bus.

In many small places in Italy you can buy tickets from a bus driver, but if you don't know which ones, it is better to buy the tickets ahead of time. In addition to selected stores, bars and the tourist office will also sell them.

Yes, always validate the ticket when you board the bus.
massimop is offline  
Apr 12th, 2017, 03:16 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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thanks for the correction, massimop
ellenem is online now  
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