les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Repression

The word repression is used much more widely in French than it would be in English, and generally means any measure designed to put pressure on people to stop breaking the law. You would contrast it, I suppose, with education or with the promise of reward.

Recently in Bordeaux fines have been increased dramatically. Parking fines went up from about 17 euros, I think, to almost 40. Meanwhile the fine for travelling on the tram or bus without a ticket has gone up to 72 euros if you settle within three days. After three days an additional 50 euros is incurred. The cost of a bus or ram ticket is 1,60€.

The other day we were on the tram when the ticket inspectors swooped. They arrived in gangs and move through the tram preventing people from alighting without first showing their valid ticket. One woman behind us was caught. She had a wallet full of tickets, none of which had been punched in the machine. "See", she said, "I have lots of tickets". But to no avail. "The fine is 72€ if you pay within three days, if not it goes up to 122€. You can pay me now by card."

"Can't you extend some indulgence? They do in Paris" said the woman, shocked at the cost of her misdemeanour.

No indulgence was extended. No indulgence was possible. The woman argued, complained, wept, railed, and paid. "You have ruined my night out!" she told the inspector.

After the inspectors had gone she continued to complain to the passengers around her about the cost of the fine and the lack of indulgence on the part of the Bordeaux ticket inspectors when compared to the kindly, forgiving Parisians. (Frankly, I have my doubts.)

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