I should confess that there was a time when I didn't always buy a ticket. I know; I disgust myself. It was one stop on the train from Leagrave station (where I lived) to Luton (where all the shops were), and it took about three minutes. For a hard up teenager, this was a quick and easy way to save myself a couple of quid. Yes, for some people their adolescent rebellion is drink, drugs, and bacchanalian excess; for me it was getting a free train ride.
That was twenty years ago. I've changed now. Matured. And I always, always buy a ticket. If I don't have one - because there's no ticket office or machine at the station - I become anxious and sweaty. I practically pounce on the conductor.
It means I also whip myself up into a frenzy of self-righteous fury if I realise people are getting away without paying. It's just rude. As the #getaticket website says, you're taking something without paying for it. There's really no excuse.
I do have a small complaint though. Conductors on the trains can sometimes be a bit... elusive. On my last journey out, he didn't pop up until we were practically into Sheffield. Saying "it's your responsibility to buy a ticket" is all well and good, but they often barricade themselves in the rear cab and you only see them when they operate the doors. Ticket checks between every station would be a great help.
I'd also like to see Penalty Fares rolled out where there's a ticket machine or office. I've been on trains out of Lime Street where passengers have bought a ticket from the on-board conductor. Just to get to the platform they'd have had to walk past machines, ticket windows and a Travel Centre. The conductor turns up, and suddenly they've got a fiver out to pay. You know, and I know, that they had no intention of buying a ticket unless they got caught. But the conductor simply sells them a ticket and moves on.
There's no excuse for that. If you board at a manned station, you should have a ticket. End of story. Merseyrail introduced a penalty fare scheme, and has run it pretty successfully; it helps that all of their stations are staffed so it's hard to argue that you couldn't get a ticket. Northern could implement a similar scheme - if you boarded a train at Leeds or Sheffield or Preston and you don't have a ticket, it's because you went out of your way not to buy one. End of story.
(I've just realised that the the hitch hiker in the first video is getting a lift off the food thief in the second video. Who is stealing food off the hitch hiker. Which implies this is less a tale of people trying to get something for nothing and more like a war of attrition between two vengeance obsessed maniacs. Perhaps.)
That was all a bit self-righteous and petty, wasn't it? Sorry. Mind you, if you thought that was bad, you should hear me on the subject of feet on seats...