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This is a question Hitchhiking and fare dodging

Epic tales of the thumb, the open road and getting robbed by hairy-arsed truck drivers. Alternatively, travelling for free like a dreadful fare-jumping cheat. Confess.

Suggested by Social Hand Grenade

(, Thu 21 Aug 2014, 13:34)
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Pearoast from years ago
I have committed one terrible fare-dodging scam which still haunts me to this day. Apologies in advance for length, girth, etc.

As a quick aside before I start, I'm not looking for kudos for this, nor am I proud of what I did. This was a silly idea that I had when I was young and naive and thought that nothing could possibly go wrong...

Most of my friends took the decision to go straight from A-levels to university. I, however, was offered a three day a week job doing odd jobs at a local web design company. Therefore I decided to defer my university entry for a year. Said company were paying me quite handsomely, and coupled with the minimal work hours, this meant I was able to jet around all over this fair isle visiting friends at their respective universities for long weekends of partying, boozing, and partying some more.

My weapon of choice for getting to these places was National Express. Very reasonably priced, more comfortable and punctual than trains, and if I travelled on one of the right routes, I was provided with entertainment on the coach TV screens. I would book my seat a couple of days in advance via their website, print off an e-ticket, and go visiting.

On one particular trip I made the observation that upon boarding, the drivers don't really pay much attention to the e-tickets. I made an assumption on this trip that the driver was probably only checking the route number (i.e. 402), and the origin and destination of travel. So I made a mental note next time I booked a ticket to save the e-ticket HTML file to my hard drive for further investigation.

Being an experienced website designer had its uses. I realised that it was perfectly easy to tinker with the e-ticket's HTML file and edit the information contained therein. So next time I travelled I printed out a counterfeit e-ticket, tailored to my exact route and journey, to see if the driver let me on. I chickened out at the last minute and bought a genuine ticket as well, stored safely in my bag just in case the fake one was turned down. But as I expected, the fake one passed the scrutiny of the driver's inspection and I took my seat, happy in the knowledge that I now possessed the ability to travel for free on National Express.

Of course I wouldn't have done this if I had felt any guilt. But I couldn't bring myself to feel guilty about it. This was a victimless crime. These coaches I was riding on would still be running if I wasn't riding on them. The few extra pennies that they would have to pay in fuel due to my weight were more than offset by the generous £2 tip I would anonymously leave on the driver's dashboard upon alighting. Nobody was losing out!

This was until one fateful journey, when I was set to go and stay with a friend in London. "Just get the coach to Heathrow, my housemate can pick you up from there", said this friend. Two minutes of HTML editing in Notepad, and I had 'booked' myself a ticket. Can you see where this is going?

Fast forward to the coach station: I boarded and took my seat on the coach, noting that it had turned up seven minutes before its timetabled departure. I then noticed the driver conducting a head count. And then pulling away six minutes early, presumably because the number of passengers on the coach matched the number on his passenger list. Except-fuck. Fuck fuck shitting fuckity fuck. I wouldn't have been on the passenger list, having not actually made a bloody booking. If the driver had counted the right number, we were clearly missing one passenger. Glancing out of the window I saw this one passenger: a young lady, laden with luggage, frantically running towards the coach trying to get it to stop. But the driver hadn't noticed her. And I couldn't bring myself to let him know she was there, in case I was found out and reported to the police. We drove off, minus this would-be passenger.

I spent the entire journey racked with guilt, which increased tenfold when I realised that this poor young woman was probably on her way to Heathrow to catch a flight, which I probably made her miss.

That was the last time I travelled with National Express, and certainly the last time I even thought about creating counterfeited travel documents. Someone was bound to lose out at some point, but unfortunately in this case it was an innocent passenger, and not the person who deserved to lose out (me).
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 15:57, 5 replies)
This is a great but all the action is down there

(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 16:13, closed)
Guilty lols.

(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 16:33, closed)
Although you being on the coach didn't increase their running costs
surely you needed to use the service anyway, and would have had to buy a ticket if you weren't fabricating them. Therefore, you have stolen the monetary value of those tickets from National Express. You are a thief.

I have passed your details onto the police.
(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 16:39, closed)
Pure pish, ye poofy pansy.

(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 17:10, closed)
needs more bawbags

(, Fri 22 Aug 2014, 16:42, closed)

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