An anarchist’s guide to Prague transit
I have always wanted to start a collection of something, but I inevitably lose interest after I have, say, fifty stamps or coins, and I remain not a collector but a mere hoarder. And so I am always amazed by the collections of others, and it’s funny how what people collect differ from country to country. In the United States it was often Coca-Cola paraphernalia or bottle caps. In a German house I came across a staggering assemblage of beer-related articles alongside a budding toy car collection. And here I have met more than one Czech obsessed with public transit vehicles, amassing vast collections models, pictures and memorabilia from Prague’s MHD, or municipal transit authority.
It is a good transit system – very well though out with hardly any holes in the net where you would get stuck – you can generally get from just about anywhere to anywhere in the greater city centre in 15 to 20 minutes. And the best thing is that it’s free, as long as you follow certain rules, all of which involve the ‘revizor’, a word that strikes fear into the heart of every anarchist.
So in the end the transit system isn’t really free, because if the inspector wins your match once a month then it all evens out. One person I know was actually tracked down for a fine he never paid seven years before and was charged 65,000 crowns. At 24 crowns a ticket, he reckons he came out only slightly in the red overall. And so maybe I have found just the thing to start a collection with in the form of aged receipts for MHD fines that I can look over and reminisce about all the fun the revizors and I had together back in the day – the times my capture was quick and painless, the times it turned into a conversation about their nephew living in America, or the times they said “You don’t have 700? Well just give me what you do have then” – all those memories in each little pink ticket.