The last part of my journey today made for a further interesting experience. Now I am the first to admit that my understanding of the operating railway is that one purchases tickets wherever and whenever they are available, as an example if my local station is not open then I shall purchase a ticket from the guard when he does his rounds. I have always considered this to be honest and in keeping with normal practice, I would not seek out a railway operative to correct the absence of a ticket and when no such operative makes himself available then I consider this their lost opportunity rather than my fraudulent act.
An elderly lady today did exactly what I don’t do and sought out a guard, who was in the process of walking to see the driver in preparation for their tea break at a terminus station, and requested a ticket. The guard assured her that he would return and then went to hide in the cab with his buddy, the train arrived, doors opened and the service terminated. As I left the train the elderly lady was waiting patiently by the cab door for the guard, it would have been nice to walk off knowing that he was returning to this very honest lady.
Passing the cab the driver appeared to be idly looking out of his open door, appeared that is until I heard the guard say “has she gone yet?” he was waiting for the elderly lady to leave the train before he did. I know people who don’t like to work too hard, I know people who make an art form out of avoiding effort but I honestly can’t recall anyone ever physically avoiding proffered cash. It was only half way home that it occurred to me that if she was so keen to pay her way the lady may have remained on the train after it left again in which case would she risk a penalty fare?