For decades in Germany....around major urban areas.....they've run public transportation and had ticket audit individuals continually on the prowl to examine tickets and ensure compliant travelers.
There's a general process when this guy enters a subway car or bus. He or she....will pull out a badge and this is a ticket check. You will pull out your ticket.....show it.....and they move on. If you fail to have a ticket....you then produce your passport-ID card and they proceed to write up a form for a fine to be mailed to you. The current fee is forty Euro (fifty dollars).
For decades....Germans who violated the ticket deal simply complied and showed some respect toward the ticket audit guy.
I came to notice last fall that on Wiesbaden buses now....it's a thirty-percent chance that the audit guy will be accompanied by a state policeman. I'd never noticed that type of situation before and kinda wondered the necessity.
This past Saturday....we had a big episode over in Mainz onboard one of the buses to drive home the reasoning.
Two brothers (twins in fact) were onboard a bus and were confronted by an ticket-audit guy. One brother had a ticket, and the other one did not. The ticket-audit guy motioned the one brother to move to the side and asked the second brother to show an ID so a fine report could be done.
A struggle ensued here with one of the brothers jumping the ticket-audit guy.....putting his hand around the guy's neck....and starting to bring harm to the guy. The passengers around this ruckus.....got suddenly peppy and involved themselves in the defense of the ticket-audit guy. The attacker....pushed back.....released the ticket-audit guy....and eventually spat on the passengers.
Cops naturally arrived....as did an ambulance which had to tote away a pretty shocked ticket-audit guy. The two brothers were arrested on charges of assault. For something like this....if convicted (better than a ninety-percent chance).....you'd likely get a minimum of twelve months in a local state prison.
This brings me around to the declining lack of respect for individuals of authority in Germany. I'd suspect that the cop escort that I've seen....is a necessity because of other attacks similar to the one in Mainz on Saturday.
Attacks like this are a shock to most Germans. They wouldn't expect that type of behavior or dramatic chaos.
So when you board a bus and the ticket-audit guy appears, and there's a cop behind him with a pistol on his belt and staring hard down on you....it's nothing negative or such. It's just that some people have created a very negative impression of compliance and won't comply with simple rules of travel....namely.....you pay one way, or another.