Berliner Bernhard R., 63, is on trial starting this week for reportedly trying to kill a ticket controller after he was found riding public transit without a ticket.
According to newspaper Berliner Morgenpost, ticket controller René H. was patrolling the S-Bahn trains with two other colleagues in the capital city in November 2014.
At about 11am, they approached Bernhard R. and found that his one-trip ticket had been stamped for two different trips, thus making it invalid.
The ticket collectors asked the 63-year-old to step out of the train with them at the next stop in order to issue him a fine.
While René H. was checking his ID card on the platform, Bernhard R. reached for the controller and tried to push him in front of an oncoming train.
Luckily, one of the other controllers saw what was happening and pushed Bernhard R. away to prevent a potential tragedy, the newspaper reports.
Bernhard R.’s trial for attempted murder charges begins on Monday in Berlin.
Germany gets tough on fare-dodging
Berlin’s public transit, like many other German city systems, operates under a sort of ‘honour system’ where riders are only checked sporadically for tickets by plainclothes controllers.
This has created a culture of schwarzfahren (literally riding in the black) with people finding creative ways to avoid the random checks, including creating apps and Facebook groups that track where controllers are checking.
An estimated 3.5 percent of all public transit users ride ticket-free, according to the Association of German Transport Companies (VDV), and transit companies also lose roughly €250 million each year due to fare-dodging.
But cities across Germany have been getting tough against the practise, with companies nationwide increasing the fines for such violations from €40 to €60 last year, and Berlin increasing its court cases against violators by more than 7,000 percent between 2013 and 2014.