I am not sure what kind of luck this is, but if you want to ride any of the public transportation with me in Stuttgart, have a ticket or pass.
The city busses and trains don’t have a place for you to “check in” or confirm that you are allowed to ride. You just hop on then hop off when it’s your Haltastelle (stop). It is quite an organized system, I think. And as Germans go, things are very punctual. However, there are VVS (the government sector that runs the transport system) workers that are dressed in plain clothes that “randomly” do spot inspections of all the passengers for a few stops before they move on to a different line. (I say random because they have a schedule; it’s just not posted for everybody to know when to avoid them.)
I have friends who have been here from 1 year to 4 years that have told me that they have been subject to the spot inspection once or twice in their entire tenure. I have been here 17 days and once again today, I was checked – making it my 5th time, and one of those days the week before last, I got me twice. That’s averages nearly every third day that I should expect to be inspected for having a pass. Luckily, I am an owner of a month pass to every form of city transportation, and as soon as the semester begins here, I will purchase a student semester pass … otherwise it could get rather expensive to move about.
The sad part of this story is that my first time to be inspected (which happened to be my third day in the country), I did not purchase a ticket. I thought I could cheat the system. I had bought €6 ticket each day prior that allows me to travel as many times as I want in one day (you could also buy a ticket for a single ride for only about €1.40 or something like that). The guy stopped me on the last leg of a several leg journey that day as I was about to exit the bus for my friend’s house who was hosting me before I could move into my dorm room. That fine was only €10 thankfully, but he entered my passport information into the system. So before I was even registered with the city as being a new resident, I already had a file with the government. From then on, out of shear fear for getting a second fine (which jumps to €40), I have always traveled with a ticket/pass.
Moral of the story: if you want to live dangerously and not follow the rules, don’t ride with me; you will get caught.