Word of the Week: Schwarzfahrer
Enlarge image (© dpa) In Germany, metro train systems make it easy for you to sneak on a train. Although you are required to purchase a ticket, there are no turnstiles holding you back from entering the station. You simply purchase your ticket, validate it (depending on the system) and keep it in your pocket. There's always a chance that you may be singled out by a plain-clothes officer and asked to show your ticket.
This honor system makes it easy for people to board trains and buses without paying - if they're feeling risky. And there's a name for such people: Schwarzfahrer ("black rider(s)"). In other words, fare dodgers. The equivalent verb for riding without a ticket is schwarzfahren ("to ride/drive black"). This word has nothing to do with someones appearance, but simply indicates that someone is using public transportation without paying.
Enlarge image (© metro) Although a Schwarzfahrer might get away with his crime many times over, there's always a chance that he or she will be caught. And the fine could be hefty; in the Munich metro system, for example, the fine for schwarzfahren is 60 Euros. That could make someone wish they had bought the 2.70 Euro farecard instead.
By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany