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Russia: A Ticketless Passenger

Categories: Eastern & Central Europe, Russia, Travel

In Moscow, you can buy a bus/trolleybus/tram ticket from the driver and it'll cost you 25 rubles, which is roughly $1. If you buy your tickets at special kiosks, you get a discount. But some people prefer to cheat and ride for free. A ticketless passenger is known as zayats in Russian: a hare. Moscow-based LJ user kozenko described [1] (RUS) a recent encounter with one representative of this species:

I really don't understand people who can ride for free on public transportation. Those who climb over turnstiles, hiding from conductors. And when they consider it heroism, that's totally beyond me. And if they are also older than 12, this, excuse me, is [absolutely obnoxious].

I was on a trolleybus going from [Dinamo [2]] to [Sokol [3]] today. A half-empty car, me and some pensioners. And then through the front door enters something of my age, if not older. Tall, wearing an old leather jacket and idiotic black pants with thin stripes. He steps over the turnstile and crashes down on an empty seat. The driver, a sturdy short woman, walked out of her cabin and told him that if he didn't get out, the trolleybus wouldn't be going anywhere. This something started laughing in response. It was actually laughing all the time, as if stoned.

The driver woman opened all the doors, walked out into the street, lit a cigarette and started strolling around. Two minutes passed. A pensioner, aged 70 or so, got up from his seat, came up to the zayats, if you can call it that, and asked him to leave. The guy even stopped laughing: “Grandpa, [what the hell]? Do you really give a [damn]? Go to your seat and sit there, [damn it].” The pensioner repeated his request, the black jacket and striped pants started laughing. The elderly man tried to take the jerk by his shoulder, the jerk waved him off and tried to push him. This is when I and another elderly man got up from our seats.

Anyway, we basically threw this smirking piece of crap out of the trolleybus. The driver returned to her cabin, closed the doors. The elderly men and I smiled to each other and, having built a civil society, haha, we proceeded on our ride.