Tallinn not to abandon requirement that fare card must be validated

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The City of Tallinn is not planning to give up the requirement that also passengers entitled to a free ride on public transport must validate their electronic fare card when entering a public transport vehicle, Deputy Mayor Taavi Aas said commenting on a court's decision that deemed fining for non-validation illegal in such case.

"Tallinn is very grateful to the people who register their each ride on public transport and thus help to gather data that is necessary for modeling and optimizing the network of routes," Aas said through spokespeople.

He said that just like everywhere else in Europe and Estonia, also in Tallinn rules had been adopted for payment for the use of public transport.

"The right to a free ride is obtained by a person after validation. Or figuratively speaking, when the system of paper tickets was valid in Tallinn and you didn't register your ticket after entering a public transport vehicle you were fined. Thus a ticket doesn't mean the right to a ride yet. Or, for instance, it's not possible to get a loyal customer discount at a service establishment as long as the loyal customer card hasn't been registered by service personnel. And if the customer doesn't want to register his loyal customer card, he won't get a discount," the deputy mayor added.

A court in the Estonian capital Tallinn has ruled that passengers on the city's public transport must not be fined for not validating their electronic fare card, or Uhiskaart, if they are entitled to a free ride, Eesti Paevaleht said on Friday.

The court finds that because of the danger of information leakage people must not be made to validate the card, said the daily.

The Harju regional court acting on a complaint by Liivi Lankots, a private individual fined by the Tallinn municipal police for not validating her Uhiskaart despite having a personalized Uhiskaart and her ID card with her, passed the judgment on April 15. In addition to invalidating the fine the court declared in the judgment that if a passenger produces the necessary documents proving the right to a free ride on Tallinn's public transport, which in the case of residents of Tallinn are ID card and a personalized Uhiskaart, the passenger's right to a free ride is proven and no fine can be meted out for not registering the ride.

"Since the right to a free ride has been proven with the documents presented, the necessary elements of  a misdemeanor are absent in the said individual's action," the court ruled.

The municipal police still has time to appeal the decision of the court of first tier. "In the said legal case the Tallinn municipal police has not shaped its final stance yet," spokesperson for the municipal police Meeli Hunt said.

For the time being, random checking of passengers on buses, trams and trolleybuses by teams of the municipal police will continue.