I do know that different countries have different approaches when it comes to bus companies inflicting fines and whatnot, but on general grounds, how does it work for a tourist not willing to pay a fine inflicted on him on a bus? If he goes back to his country, how can the company possibly recover the sum? Are they going to access the transgressor's bank account even though it's abroad?

Obviously I'm assuming that fines are not to be paid on the spot.

I'm also assuming this taking place in countries that do not deny exit to any individual having to pay fines or debts in general (in Morocco or the UAE I think that they do not let anyone who has to pay a fine leave the country, but I'm not sure).

3 Answers 3


It is possible that they cannot collect the fine. In Norway, a substantial fine is assessed for traveling on the train, bus etc. without a valid ticket. If caught by an inspector, you may pay on the stop, or later by giro with a further surcharge. I have no personal experience with violating the law, but I understand that in the latter case (you have no means to may on the spot), they collect identifying information but cannot force you to provide proof of identity. If you refuse to give that information or refuse to accept the ticket, they may call the police to arrest you, but if you just bolt and the police can't find you, you may be effectively anonymous to them, and they have no way of collecting from you. If they can find you, they can bill you and theoretically take you to your local court, but I would be surprised if they actually did.

  • Hi, thanks for the answer. However I assumed that the transgressor provided ID, otherwise the problem wouldn't be standing in the first place.
    – abdul
    Commented Jun 28, 2020 at 17:29

Usually, it is not the bus company itself that sets the fine for travelling without paying the fare, but it is the authorities that determine the penalty and how high the fine should be. If a ticket collector writes you a fine for traveling without a valid ticket, they are at that point acting as a representative of the authorities.

Depending on agreements between your home country and the country you were visiting, the authorities of the visited country may ask the authorities in your home country to collect the fine on their behalf. In that case, you can expect to receive a letter at your home address informing you that you still have a fine to pay, with payment information as if you incurred the fine in your home country.

If there is no such agreement, the visited country may not be able to collect the fine, but they may try to collect the next time you want to visit the country.


In Germany, not having obtained a valid bus ticket is not a misdemeanor but a crime under § 265a StGB. In general, such a person is obligated to pay an increased transport fee of 60€ or double fare if that is higher (§12 EVO / §9 VO-ABB). Note that the fee is bound to not having obtained. If you have a previously bought ticket for a week with your name on it but forgot it at the hotel, you don't break the law, you just couldn't show it and thus might need to show it to the bus station later and pay a small service fee, at which point the increased transport fee is moot.

If you don't pay on the spot, they want to see your ID and if you refuse, call Police to do the identification for them - your personal information will be kept so in case you don't pay within the specified time, they could start with the legal processes as well as spot repeat violators.

If you don't pay up or they repeatedly pick you up without a ticket, they can (and for residents of germany most likely will) file suit and the case ends in front of the judge and then can lead to a proper, but higher, fine, or up to one year in prison.

If you are a tourist and don't pay, the case might get tried in absentia and you will get sent the higher fine and possibly a bill for some additional fees per mail. At that point, the transport company has a valid title that says you owe them and they can either request your country's authorities to assist or send a debt collection agency after you or ask the police of your country to assist.

However, the ticket inspectors are known to show quite some leniency on tourist non-residents (german tourists don't get that) when it comes to bus tickets, letting them off with a stern warning and explanation how the ticket system works here.

  • Here in Italy people that I know have left for France but at the end these fines never reached them, furthermore they never reached them when they were in Italy. Maybe Italian bureaucracy is what it is, and lets people get away with fines, because they won't spend time over people owning nothing here.
    – abdul
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 17:50
  • @abdul that might be. At least for german residents, the companies are rather vigilant to sue if needed. They might be much more lenient on non-residents, as suing still costs and recovery might be seriously hampered.
    – Trish
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 17:54
  • On residents? you meant on tourists, you sais two different things for the same people.
    – abdul
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 17:57
  • eh, a non got lost!
    – Trish
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 17:58
  • say*, not sais.
    – abdul
    Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 13:38

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