Milan metro foils fare-dodgers

Extra checks on Milan's metro.

Riders on Milan’s metro system will need tickets to pass the turnstiles not only on entering, but from 15 February also on leaving the station, city transport authority ATM has announced.

Tired of putting up with €15,000 per day in unpaid fares, ATM started experimenting with the system in June 2012. Applied at first to only a handful of stations, it was gradually extended across the city.

The most recent phase of the trial was limited to periods during the day and late evening, outside the morning and evening rush hours. But now the scheme will be valid all through the operating hours.

The only exceptions will be those few stations where the stairs are too close to the turnstiles, risking a bottleneck in the passenger flow.

The exit turnstiles will recognise a ticket which is invalid, either for overrunning its validity time or for not covering the full length of the journey. The passenger will be blocked, and will need to pay the difference to be able to leave the station.

The system was in fact ready for use in 2013, but ATM decided to first install panic buttons to unblock the turnstiles in an emergency – not required by law, stressed chairman Bruno Rota, announcing the scheme, but deemed necessary for passenger safety.

We decided to complete the final phase,” Rota added, “because the share of fare-dodgers has been cut by half since we started this system.”

Of the 1.2m passengers who use the Milan metro lines every day, less than 1 per cent cheat the system. That is less than in other Italian cities, said Rota, but that still represents a financial loss, and is unfair to honest people paying their regular ticket.

In Rome and Bari, for example, the share of fare-dodgers is estimated to reach around 30 per cent, say local transport authorities.