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Published on July 22nd, 2014 | by The Beige Baron

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Disconnex: How I Was Seized At Melbourne Station by Rabid Scum

This morning on my way to work I was arrested by Authorised Officers from Connex while trying to purchase a ticket.

While exiting Melbourne Central Station at 9am, I approached the officers to explain that I had a valid daily zone 2 ticket but that I needed to purchase a zone 1 ticket to complete my journey. I usually work in Glen Waverley which is in zone 2, but occasionally I am required to travel to North Melbourne, which is in zone 1. So, this morning, without thinking, I purchased my zone 2 ticket. It wasn’t until the train pulled into Caulfield station that I realised I’d forgotten the zone 1 ticket. I always do this; buying a zone 2 ticket is just automatic for me and it’s not until later in the journey that I realise.

Anyway, I figured I’d be alright because the dozen or so times this has happened I’ve been able to purchase a zone 1 at Melbourne Central after explaining my mistake to the Authorised Officers. Not this time.

After approaching the two Officers – with my ticket and my money in my hand – I was informed that buying a ticket at the end of your journey, for whatever reason, was “not the way things work.” I explained that I had been permitted to purchase a ticket here before on many occasions. No dice. The Officer pulled out his little notepad and informed me that he would have to make a report. I asked him why it was only this time that I couldn’t buy a ticket, when I could every other time? He had no explanation for this, or rather, he flat out ignored me, preferring to continue to make his “report.”

I said, “I know you’re going to just issue me with a fine. I know your tricks.”

“It’s not a trick. I have to file a report with the Department of Infrastructure and they’ll decide whether to issue a fine or not.”

“I know how it works, mate. You’ve got quotas to meet. I’m going to get a fine because you won’t let me buy a ticket. I’m gonna walk through there and buy a ticket. You can stand next to me while I do it, I’ll even come back here and validate it. ”

The two officers then blocked the gate beside the turnstiles. “You’re not going anywhere, mate.”

By this time I was already 20 minutes late for work because the ‘express’ train that I had been on had stopped between every station and travelled at approximately 3 kilometres per hour at all other times.

I said, “I’m already late for work because of your shit train service and I’m not waiting here any longer. You’re gonna let me through.”

“I’ll need to take your name and address.”

“I’m not giving you my name and address. I’m perfectly willing to buy a ticket, but you’re preventing me.”

“Are you refusing to give your name and address?”

“I absolutely refuse.”

“Then we are placing you under arrest…”

“Fuck that shit! You can’t arrest me! You should be compensating me. I’m already late for work because you idiots can’t run a train service and now you want to arrest me for trying to buy a ticket?” They smirked at each other, obviously amused at some sub-cop in-joke.

By this time I was furious and I may have provided a rather colourful description of the train service, their mental capacity and the questionable virtue of their mothers. Then they called the cops.

“We are detaining you until the police arrive because you have refused to give your name and address.”

“Call the fucking cops,” I said. I figured I had a better chance with the cops – you can reason with cops but you can’t reason with sub-moronic thugs who want to be cops.

Fuck that shit! You can’t arrest me! You should be compensating me!

They said that I would now not only be charged with fare evasion but with using offensive language and resisting arrest. By this time a small crowd had gathered. A few other Connex pricks surrounded the gate after the Officer told someone to call the cops, then another two officers appeared, trying to look moody and dangerous. I was now surrounded by a total of six officers. Nevertheless, I continued to, as they say, maintain the rage.

I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I tried to assure them that it wasn’t personal — I hated all of them equally and I detested the public transport system, detested it like a sickness. One of the officers next to me kept trying to interrupt my flow, so I told him to shut the fuck up.

They were getting really heavy on me now, I could barely move they were that close. I had visions of a bare cell, an orange jumpsuit and electrodes on the balls. Dr Haneef was in custody for less.

The main heavy told me that I could make all this stop if I just gave them my details. By now I was exhausted by rage and the total unfairness of the whole situation. So I caved in and gave them my name and address. I was also really late for work, but if I hadn’t been I would have waited for the cops.

Then a strange thing happened: they started being nice to me and became concerned about my travel plans for the rest of the day. And in the weirdest twist of all, gave me a free daily ticket. At the time, I just wanted to get out of there so I didn’t really think to deeply on it. I needed a cigarette more than I ever have needed one in my life. Even though it was nine in the morning, I also needed a very large whiskey. But now I get bubbles in my brain trying to understand why they gave me a ticket. Surely I had made their morning so miserable that they would have rather kicked me across the concourse. Had I been at a suburban station without so many witnesses I’m sure they would have.

With my details handed over to the dark side, and my identity verified, they opened the gate and let me go.

Some might say that I made a lot of unnecessary trouble for myself by refusing to comply, but the public transport system in Melbourne is worse than bad, it’s completely unacceptable. It’s late, cancelled, overcrowded and one small glitch at any arm of the network is enough to send the whole system spiralling into chaos that takes days to recover from. I don’t need to explain this to you if you live in Melbourne. So when these officers attempted to deprive me of my liberty on top of all the shit I had to wade through to even get that far, the red mist came down. It is baffling to me why more people don’t stand up to their intimidation. I admit I was pissed off before they got in my way, but I had every right to be. Is it so unreasonable to expect public transport to run efficiently? And if you do fall foul of their hazy, mercenary and arbitrary laws, is it also unreasonable to expect to be met with perhaps a little common sense and understanding? I tried to be reasonable with these guys, I really did. Who needs this shit on the way to work? Not me. But if you lay down for this kind of treatment, they’ll continue to get away with it. They might even kick you a few times while you’re down there.

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Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.



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