Free riding is an excellent way of saving a couple of hundred kronors each month. In addition, it’s a sharp stance against the responsible politicians that you do not accept the unfair pricing. On this page you can read more about how to, in the easiest way, free ride on various means of transportation, and how you can escape ticket inspectors.
On the subway
The glass turnstiles have now been built into most subway stations. They frequently break and their operation costs are high. At first glance they may seem dangerous and hard to break through, but the fact is a seasoned free rider have an easier time getting through them than the old cross-style turnstiles. The trick is to slip through behind another passenger travelling with ticket when said person is passing the turnstiles. Without getting too close one go through the turnstile behind aforementioned, and if one wants to be on the safe side one puts ones hand on either of the turnstile’s doors while applying a little bit of pressure so as to prevent it from closing. At this point the turnstile usually begins beeping furiously, but this is a common occurrence; nobody pays any attention.
If there is no other passenger nearby your best bet is tricking the turnstile’s photo sensors that someone is exiting from the other direction; at which point it will open automatically. You achieve this by either positioning yourself in a turnstile next to the turnstile you want to pass and wagging an object, for example a newspaper, bag or scarf so that it breaks the sensors of the turnstile you want to pass. It will then open at which point you will grab the open door and hold it while going through. Another trick is to throw something over the turnstile, something that breaks the photo sensor, which will open the doors. A prerequisite to this, however, is that you have not already broken some of the photo sensors on the outside of the turnstile.
Naturally another option is climbing over the turnstiles.
These are more common to find at smaller stations and are easy to pass by dragging the cross towards you until you have created enough space to pass through. However they are often equipped with a small photo sensor at the inside of the turnstile line, which you first have to break in order to be able to drag the cross towards you. This is easily achieved with your foot, or by wagging a newspaper or a bag, breaking the photo sensor. Alternatively you jump over the turnstile or crawl under it.
On the subway
Sitting in the subway while keeping a look out for ticket inspectors can be nerve wrecking, and actually requires more energy than it’s worth. The key factor is to relax and make sure that one maintain supervision without having to strain oneself. A favourite spot is sitting with your back against the drivers booth, on the seat nearest the walk-through. Then you’re in a position with good supervision of the carriage, and you can easily stand up to exit if ticket inspectors would appear.
If you find yourself not being able to have a good supervision due to too much commuters it’s probably rush hour, and you generally do not need to worry that much about ticket inspectors. It’s pretty hard for them to squeeze through people that are standing, and in principle impossible for them to find the time to check an entire carriage between two stations. The old carriages are good because it’s easy to maintain supervision over the whole carriage. On the other hand the newer carriages are good because the ticket inspectors often do not have the time to screen the entire carriage between two stations – so you will be able to get off!
On the buss
Free riding on the bus may seem hard since you have to confront the bus driver before entering. However with some practice it becomes a breeze. The easiest way is probably using a SMS-ticket.
During rush hour it’s usually not a problem slipping on the bus through a back door, especially not on the blue buses. Ticket screening on buses are overall unusual, especially on shorter routes, cross routes and low-traffic routes. However you should watch on board buses headed for the suburbs which only have bus connections, such as Tyresö, Värmdö, Ekerö and similar, where screening is more common.
Another good tip is asking the driver if it’s okay to tag along or bluntly saying ”I don’t have any money, could I ride along?” alternatively ”is it ok if I ride for free?”. This is a bit simpler during night times since the night personnel are a bit more easy going. Ask kindly, look the driver in the eyes and be polite. You’re only risk is getting a no.
Freeriding on board trams and commuter trains is often a bit different from free riding on the subway. Conductors on the local trains and trams can make life hard, but still one can handle it if you has worked in a routine. Keep in mind that the commuter trains, Roslagsbanan and Saltsjöbanan classifies under the railway legislation, thus some personnel on board have a higher degree of authority compared to other SL-personnel. They have the right to restrain you on the train or kick you out! Be careful and do not argue with them!
Trams and local routes
On Roslagsbanan, Tvärbanan, Saltsjöbanan, Nockeybybanan, and Lidingöbanan there’s always a conductor checking the whole train. This creates certain problems when free riding. One tactic is to get off the train or change carriage when the conductor enters your carriage, but this can become rather tedious in the long run. Another tactic is to sit still, pretending to be asleep as if you’ve already been checked. Look out the windows, read a book and relax – the conductor usually pass by. The conductor does not have the right to force you out or issue tickets, however he or she can call for security guards or stop the train. So pay attention and do not fight. Rather say that you can’t afford a ticket and ask if you can travel anyway.
If you’re not up for a morning run at 8’o clock in the morning it’s not the end of the world. Calmly approach the raid, make sure there aren’t any security guards, if there is you need to be careful. If not you can simply keep on walking. Pretend to be looking for the card while walking and when the screeners ask for for you ticket you kindly tell them that you are in a real rush and move along.
Screeners have absolutely no right to touch you or restrain you, this is called unlawful detention. Just walk past them. We have tried this and it really does work, you have adrenalin up to your ears but save 1200 kronor. Sometimes there’s a very ill-natured mood amongst the ticket inspectors and you can’t always circumvent them. In those cases it’s better to stay where you are, under no circumstances are you allowed to use violence.
If you gain knowledge about a raid occurring at a station, immediately text a warning to everyone you know that might come about that station and send a tweet with the hasthtag #biljettkontroll. This is called solidarity.