Cultural doubt

Do you know what turnstile means? I did not. That is because I have never use this word since I am here. Last year I used to pronounce the equivalent italian world thousands of time. It was the focus of my pre-meeting texting: “See you at subway turnstile”. In Vienna that sentence has been replaced with “Let’s meet at the exit”, that sounds so confusing for me. I feel lost for two reasons indeed: trust in people’s honesty and my rotten underground orientation sense.

Forgotten about my ability in getting lost, I am wondering how it is possible that nobody is paid to check you are owning a regular ticket. Sure, maybe it is better not to pay anybody instead of sleeping people in some cabins, but still, what about some sorts of gate? I am a good citizen and I always buy tickets, however I could have ever travelled without paying since I have never meet a ticket inspector.

On one hand I am glad that they confide in good-faith, on the other one tickets are more expensive than in Milan. According the banal theory “price x sold unit > cost”, it could be said that in Milan we sell more tickets because they are needed to enter in the subway. Given up on economics reasoning (I am completely out of shape), is there a cultural explanation for my doubt? One could be honour system and I suppose it works since subway is running properly. That sounds great. In Milan it would never be possible since from April we are asked to validate tickets also when we exit the underground.

Though I do get the impression that the majority of Austrian are conscientious people who do not travel unless they have got a valid ticket, I am sure it causes issue for tourists. I did a quickly check on Tripadvisor and there are questions and complains about this system. Just a foolish could ever think that transports are free, but the absence of blockades might be disorienting.

In the end just a piece of advice for those will travel to Austria (or Germany – it works at the same): buy the tickets. You will have less money in your pocket but you will feel civilized and righteous citizens.

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