A little startled by the disruption, people nervously rustle through bags and pockets and pull out their train tickets while the women block the exits to the subway making sure no ticket-less scumbag escapes.
Even though I have my ticket, I can't help but feel my stomach tighten as I wait for her to check over my ticket and give me the nod and the "Dankeschön" which mean I've passed her little check. No public humiliation to face today. *huge sigh of relief*
Unlike in NYC, where you can't pass through the gate without a valid ticket, in Germany they use an honor system. They trust that you have bought and stamped your ticket like the good law abiding citizen that Germans expect you to be. So this of course means that you can pass a whole month without a ticket and never get caught if you're willing to take the risk, in theory. If you do get caught however, count on a whole lot of public humiliation.
Its the VAG and Deutsche Bahn's fool proof plan to make sure people pay without having to make people pass through a metal gating system. People who are caught riding without a ticket during these surprise ticket checks are stared at and frowned at and shamed without guilt. They are now a "Schwarzfahrer". Not the most PC name the Germans have ever come up with, but none the less not a place I want to ever be in.