5YO Fined for Riding Bus Without Ticket, Though Rides Are Free for Kids Under 6

CH-Direct issues fine for 5yo girl for riding bus without a ticket, says it's a safety measure 5 photos
School bus has a cocktail of snow and gravitySchool bus has a cocktail of snow and gravitySchool bus has a cocktail of snow and gravitySchool bus has a cocktail of snow and gravity
The Swiss national public transport organization is considered one of the safest and most reliable in the world, and this can’t happen without strict rules.
One of these rules says that kids under 6 can travel for free if they’re accompanied by someone older than 12. The opposite of this situation isn’t clearly stated in the official rules but it’s understood, national public transport organization CH-Direct says in a statement, after news of an out-of-the-ordinary situation broke.

It happened last week and it made both local and international news: a 5-year-old girl was hit with a 100-franc (€92 / $102) fine in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, for riding a bus without a ticket, The Local reports. The strangeness comes from the fact that kids under 6 have gratuity on buses and trains, but there’s an “if” to that: if they’re accompanied by someone older than 12.

In other words, if they’re traveling with someone who’s 10, for example, both kids have to have valid tickets or passes. This 5-year-old girl was with her 10-year-old sister and, while the latter did have a valid pass, the former didn’t. So the youngest kid was ticketed and made to sign the receipt, even though she can’t read or write.

“My ten-year-old daughter was almost in tears because she thought she had done something wrong,”
the mother of the girls says for the local media. “The little one probably didn’t understand that had happened. But I still think it is all out of proportion to give a five-year-old a 100-franc fine.”

As you probably guessed, the outrage came from the fact that the 5-year-old girl was made to sign the receipt. This might seem strange or even cruel, but it’s standard procedure – and it’s meant to discourage parents from sending kids younger than 12 on public transport, a spokesperson for CH-Direct explains.

We have to set a boundary somewhere. From the age of 12 on, a child can accompany a younger sibling aged under six on public transport, but we don’t want it to be younger [than that],” the spokesperson says.

Schaffhausen’s public transport authority says that, as a “gesture of good will,” the fine will be cut in half.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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