The way the commuter trains are set up in most of central Europe is on the honor system. You usually buy a ticket at an automat machine and there are no conductors to check them. Every once in a great while, there will be a spot inspection and if you can't show a valid ticket, you are fined about $50. Most folks buy the tickets. I always buy them, but I got caught once in Belgium, because the automat wasn't working and I didn't want to miss the train.
Murphy's law: I explained (in broken French, forget about Flemish) to the inspectoress about the machine and she listened politely as she handed me a ticket and collected the fine on the spot. I tried to bribe her with a slice of Nunzio's Ahbeetz that I had in my pack, but to no avail. Thank God I didn't try to speak German to her! The Bosch are not welcome in that section of Brussels.
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