I seldom have the opportunity to travel to Toronto by Go Train, but occasionally I enjoy the stress-free trek and venture forth to leave my car, either at Pickering or Markham, depending on my mood and who I want to see during the commute.
In an effort to be frugal (I am Dutch, after all) I purchased a ten trip ticket at the Markham Station and another, a few months later, at Pickering. This saves me rushing from the parking lot to the station, buy a ticket and then run for the train.
The ten trip tickets last me about a year, and it was toward the end of the ticket that I traumatic event.
I boarded the train in Pickering, as I had before and took up a seat in the end section of the car. I am always careful not to take someone else’s seat, as I am told there are cliques and you don’t want to mess with regular commuters.
About 20 minutes into the trip the security people came by and asked to see everyone’s ticket. I produced mine, handed it to the officer and watched as he scrutinized my pass. He spoke into his intercom and a minute later another guard entered. I knew I was in trouble, but had absolutely no idea why.
They whispered to each other, checked my ticket, stared at me with beady eyes and finally spoke. The ticket I had handed him was for the Markham line, not the one I was on. I breathed a sigh of relief, for it didn’t matter as both tickets cost the same and I had no idea which one I had used that day.
I explained my situation and again they spoke. Then, to my bewilderment I was told that I was breaking the law and I would be fined $85. I was stunned and argued my case. By now I had attracted several onlookers, as this was much more entertaining than playing Candy Crush or knitting.
The guards would not back down and finally began to write an infraction. They asked my name. I told then it was John Smith. They didn’t believe me and asked again. I held my ground. Then they asked for my driver’s license. I said I didn’t have it with me, that’s why I was on the train. They began to grill me and I suddenly had visions of Midnight Express racing through my mind.
Unexpectedly, without warning, one of the guards bent over and I was sure she was going to tackle me from my seat. Instead she read my name and info from the tag on my camera bag, under my seat. I cussed and realized that all their training had paid off.
I left the train, ticket in hand; head bowed down and if I had a tail it would be between my legs. I made my way to the Justice of the Peace office at City Hall and after a short wait got into see someone in authority.
Again I pleaded my case detailing every account. We had a language barrier and I wasn’t sure if he was ignoring me or not understanding what I was saying. Finally he sighed and told me he would cut the fine in half.
I argued and he stared at me, telling me that I could fight it in court if I wanted to spend a day doing so. I pleaded a little, but knew when I was beat. I got up to leave, took the paper work and noticed the fine was $63. I said half of $85 should only come out to $43, why the extra $20?
He said that was for the victim’s fund. I had no problem with that, but again told him that I felt I had been unjustly dealt with. I left and felt his eyes burning in my back. That was the last time I took the Go Train. I am certain my absence from the rails will hit their bottom line any day now.