My wife and I got bus fines today in Bologna. We had only recently arrived and had purchased a ticket from where we were staying which was about 6 or 7 km from the city. The hotel receptionist explained the ticketing system to us and said that if we buy a ticket we could use it on as many journeys for 75 minutes.
We took the bus from our hotel to Bologna and then straight away got on another bus to get to central Bologna where all the sights are. When we got on this other bus we assumed that it was ok as we were still within the 75 minutes.
However, when we tried to validate our tickets in the machine it flashed red like an error had occurred so we figured something wasn't right.
We tried to ask the driver about it or if we could buy a ticket but he just grunted and started to drive off. We therefore started to leave the bus at the next stop so we could try and buy another ticket but were ushered back on by a few men who turned out to be ticket inspectors!
They alleged that our tickets were not valid in the city and that we had to pay a 65 euro fine. They wanted to see our official documentation and so took details from our UK driving licences and issued us both with fines. They wanted us to pay there and then, but we explained we didn't have enough cash on us to do so and they then stated we could pay by card.
However, I still wasn't happy about doing that so he then said that we could pay later by going to an Italian post office; or if we don't pay within a certain time the fine will go up to 270 euros each and will be posted to us (he got our addresses off our UK driving licences)!
I am a bit miffed about this as we were noway trying to evade and as soon as we realised our mistake we tried to talk to the bus driver to buy a ticket or get off the bus, but he drove off and ignored us! I have a slight suspicion that it was a rouse as it is very strange that he did this and then out of nowhere bus inspectors got on and made a beeline for us!
If we go back to the UK without paying these fines and ignore the subsequent fines that they send us through the post (if they do send any), then what happens? Do they have any powers when we are back in the UK? a total fine of 500 euros for an honest mistake seems utterly outrageous.