Have you ever noticed how the English desk at ČTK has a very different view of the news than their Czech counterparts? I find that ČTK, through the České noviny site, produces an awful lot of good information that would be of interest to an international audience. Unfortunately, what you see in their News in English section is essentially stuff that can be machine-translated: stock market averages, currency fixing, GDP figures. Maybe I’m being too hard on them, but I’d like to see more stories like this in their “News in English:”

Transit Inspectors May Get Uniforms

PRAGUE – Inspectors of the transit company may have to wear uniforms. So far, according to the Tuesday edition of Blesk, only some inspectors on the Metro and bus lines will have to wear the uniforms. Whether they will be required of all inspectors has yet to be decided.

“We will try the change on the metro and on urban bus lines. Inspectors on trams and other buses can use the uniforms, and don’t have to,” spokeswoman Michaela Kuchařová told the paper. Inspectors will also be able to wear only part of the uniform, such as the shirt. Uniforms will be in shades of blue.

After a trial period the proposed switch to uniforms will be evaluated. “If it is approved, it will be in force from April,” the spokeswoman said.

Some inspectors, who now wear ordinary civilian clothes, disagreed with the proposal, according to Blesk. People without valid tickets would find it easier to avoid them. “At the same time, we’re paid according to the fines we collect,” one inspector said [italics mine].

Interesting. In my own experience on Prague public transit, I’ve found that the inspectors a) single out obvious tourists, especially non-Europeans b) focus their attention on areas with high concentrations of tourists.

But that last quote confirms something I’ve suspected all along. These guys are on the take. Whether they give a useless piece of paper or not as a receipt, their personal income is directly related to the number of fines they give out. Therefore, their livelihood depends on entrapment.

I look forward to seeing the new uniforms in action. I’d like to propose they be clown suits.

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