April 10, 2023

Is this a tourist scam in Livorno?

from Ian McIntosh travelling in Italy

It seems the transport authorities in the Italian city of Livorno are not only targeting tourists - but ripping them off in the bargain. A group of Australian tourists were hijacked by transport authority thugs in Livorno Italy yesterday and ripped off for 40 euros each. 

They were on a day trip from a cruise ship to the Livorno railway station - a trip that cost one euro fifty. All purchased tickets but when they tried to validate them the machine did not work. Even a local, who spoke good English, agreed you had to know exactly how to manipulate the machine to get validation.
When they stepped onto the bus the driver waved them through with other groups from the ship who also found it impossible to validate their tickets.

Shortly after commencing the journey, the driver pointed out the Australian group of five to uniformed thugs who got on the bus and demanded to see passports and then imposed a fine of 17 euros for each person for non-validation. As the group was in a hurry to get to the railway station and visit Florence, they agreed to pay the curious fine by credit card. However, a close examination of the credit card slip showed that each person had actually been charged 40 euros. According to one of the Australians, the so-called officials were intimidating demanding to see passports, which were photographed. "We were treated like criminals," she said. "Anywhere else in the world visitors would be treated with understanding and guided in local rules - but not in Livorno.”
looking at similar incidents on Facebook, it seems that this racket has been going on for some time. Why did the bus driver select the Australian group? Was he part of the scam? It is easy to believe the answer is yes. According to the group leader: "We have contacted our credit card company and had the charge challenged - and look forward to the authorities in Livorno taking the right attitude and protecting visitors from this sort of humiliation and theft. “We are by the way assuming they were officials she added and complied with their requests - “this could also be a tourist season scam on a grand scale."

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