Ticket inspections resume on Stockholm’s public transport
The controls must now take into account Covid-19 safety measures

Stockholm tram

After a two-and-a-half-month break during the coronavirus outbreak, Stockholm’s public transport operator SL resumes ticket controls.

Since mid-June, ticket inspectors run regular controls on the subway. Since June 29, they are also checking tickets on buses and trams.

For controls on bus journeys, the inspectors check the tickets when passengers get off at their station. They have disinfectant and plastic gloves available, and keep an arm’s length distance from passengers when conducting the checks.

Rise in fare infractions

Ticket inspections were paused since April to minimise the risk of spreading the virus. The inspections are risky because they require numerous interactions between ticket inspectors and passengers, possibly also making social distancing hard to implement if groups or queues form at the control points.

Since April, passengers did not have to show their tickets to bus drivers, and boarded the buses using the back doors, to avoid contact with the driver. This led to an increase in fare infractions.

On commuter trains, fare infractions increased by 70% in June, compared to the same month last year. At least 82.900 passengers jumped turnstiles, according to local media.

Fines for fare evasion in Stockholm cost 1,500 Krona (€145, $170).

“Ticket controls are an important part of SL traffic’’ says Kristoffer Tamsons, traffic councillor in Stockholm and chairman of SL. ‘’Without ticket controls, financial sustainability and safety in public transport disappears.”

SL has been losing around 100 million SEK (€9,7 m, $11,4 m) weekly due to the drop in journeys caused by the pandemic (it is not yet clear whether a percentage of this amount relates to fare evasion).

In a similar move, other operators such as TTC in Toronto, Canada, and MBTA in Boston, USA, also gradually resumed ticket inspections this summer.