Encounters with the Metro Police

Until a few days ago, I was having a love affair with Roman public transportation.  Not having to drive has been amazing.  Sure there are times when it’s inconvenient to take the metro, but it’s been about 100xs more enjoyable than dealing with LA traffic, so I adjusted quickly.

If you are a student, under 26, and a resident of Rome, you can buy a month long metro pass for 18 Euro.  What a steal! A one-way metro trip is 1 Euro, so a monthly pass is a great deal if you need to take the metro/bus to and from school on a regular basis.

When I bought the 18 Euro pass for students instead of the general 30 Euro pass for all other monthly users, I forgot rule #1 of living in Italy.

RULE #1 OF LIVING IN ITALY: Learn how to read minds.  Use this mind-reading ability to follow rules that, while not posted, are always enforced.

I am 25, a student, and a legal resident of Rome.  This should qualify me for a student metro ticket. BUT I forgot about Rule #1, mind reading.

Masters students do not qualify for student tickets.  Where is this posted? Nowhere. How are you supposed to know this? You just are.  I learned this the 50 Euro hard way.

The metro police asked to see my ticket, and then my “documenti.”

“Ah, Masters. No good. Masters can’t use this.”

I was told I could pay a 50 Euro cash fine there on the spot, or a 140 Euro fine later.  I tried to argue, but he had my passport so it was pretty futile.  I went with the 50 Euro fine which was promptly pocketed.

I demanded a telephone number to call to appeal.  “Non c’è telefono.”

Great. Of course there is no telephone number… but he did give me the address for an office on the back of my ticket.  Awesome. Thanks.

I would march right down to that potentially fake office address if I thought there were even the tiniest chance in hell that I would get my money back.  I’ll just be told- “You should have know that Masters students can’t have this pass.”

Rule #1, read minds.

3 thoughts on “Encounters with the Metro Police

  1. audra says:

    I hate this so hard.

    I showed up for my first day of class this semester where my faculty site told me to go, then was told in person that class was on the other side of town.

    “Well, why didn’t it say that on the website?”


  2. Alex says:

    Don’t worry, your ability to read minds will come – it takes a few years though 😉

    But you should know that Masters students are not real students. Real students either go to school – that’s high school down, or to university to do a degree. Masters are not regarded as being legitimate courses, so even if you are a student, you aren’t.

    I guess you would be able to win this on appeal, but if you don’t know whom to appeal to, appealing is not easy. Even if you were able to appeal, the process would take months, if not years, and the cost in terms of time would greatly exceed €50!

    Get a student ID card – and then you should be able to save yourself €50, possibly. (This is Italy, so you could probably make your own student ID card – but I didn’t write that 😉 )



    PS I also got fined once – the ticket I had was not valid for the train I was on – worked on other trains, but not this one – different train company – but I had not learnt to read minds in those days.

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