Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Free Travel

I watched two youths being ejected from the train at Westgate today with a penalty fine ticket which I'm sure will go in the gutter. It's not the first time I've seen this on trips to and from London and it appears the plague the part of the journey between Herne Bay, where they appear to get on and off and Westgate/Margate, if I'm still on the train.

It was one of those occasions where I sat and watched, wondering if they would behave themselves, they were big lads or would attempt to either abuse or assault the conductor or run-off, which I've also seen before. One sits there quickly thinking what the plan of action would be if the worst happens. After all the state does very little these days to reward or encourage citizen intervention; quite the opposite in fact as its often the good guy who finds himself arrested. I certainly wouldn't wish to be a conductor on the North Kent route. Remember the incident earlier this year when one poor chap was beaten-up by a gang with baseball bats at Birchington station?

Later this month, I'm in Brussels chairing the IP Crime Congress. Lot's of big names there, Gucci, Microsoft, Warner Brothers, Novartis, Electronic Arts and so on, all worried about the loss of revenue and brand value from counterfeit piracy and of course eBay, who are also speaking.

The big fear today lies in counterfeit prescription drugs which are in increasingly widespread circulation. Governments and particularly, the EU, don't appear overly concerned about intellectual property protection in areas such as music and movies, which opens a comparative gulf with the position of the United States, where lobbying has made it a significant issue. In the meantime, the UK, like other countries, has a love affair with cheap, counterfeit goods and each sale of a fake Gucci handbag or DVD, does its bit in funding the growth of the Russian Mafia, which some might say is the pension fund for the KGB but with the G8 summit on this month in Germany, I couldn't possibly comment!


Anonymous said...

Ticketless travel by youths has always been with us on the railway and conductors are left to deal with the situation by themselves and with regard to your comment about the north kent line I think you will find that all the trains on that piece of line are driver only operated( no conductor)

DrMoores said...

Who was inspecting the tickets? Is he simply a ticket inspector and not a conductor?

Anonymous said...

on the north kent line I think you will find they are checked by inspectors randomly they also join trains on all lines and I also think that the railway are investing in rail enforcement officers which I believe are having a good effect

Anonymous said...

If the train companies are not prepared to man trains with conductors or their stations with staff, they quite clearly accept that the loss of revenue from scroats is acceptable. The rest of the law -abiding public purchase tickets. How much stock would be in Tesco's if they had unmanned automatic chechouts and no staff on duty? Maybe we should risk travelling without tickets as a protest so that the railways are manned properly.