Since the beginning of the year fraudsters armed with foreign coins have stolen CHF 38,000 francs from TPG, Geneva’s public transport operator, a problem that has been increasing this year.
TPG ticket machines cannot tell the difference and think they are swallowing five franc coins. Instead, when converted, they are only receiving a few cents. The machine then returns a ticket and change in Swiss francs. In April alone the company lost CHF 14,000. In 2015, this fraudulent trick cost TPG CHF 50,000. According to 20 Minutes, TPG doesn’t want to divulge the type of coin used to avoid encouraging others, but thinks the coin in question is worth less than 20 Swiss cents. At this value buying a 2 franc ticket would yield a CHF 2.80 profit and a free trip on a tram.
In response TPG is buying better machines with more sensitive coin reading equipment. “They should arrive very soon” said a TPG spokesperson. They are also in the process of adding software to existing machines to detect suspicious behaviour.
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