Passengers who travel without a valid ticket are sometimes called ‘rabbits’ (for instance, зайцы in Russian, triušis in Lithuanian, and jänesed in Estonian). The label probably comes from the French expression courir comme un lapin (‘to run like a rabbit’).
Travelling without a paid ticket is also called fare evading, fare dodging, or planking. Besides jumping over barriers and running from controllers, fare evaders, or rabbits, organise communities and form special digital forums (on apps, websites or social media). There they exchange information in real time about where there are inspectors and how to avoid them.
Researcher Louise Sträuli has interviewed and observed rabbits on the Brussels metro. She argues that there are diverse reasons for becoming a rabbit. Some resort to the punishable practice of fare evasion due to financial difficulties while for others evading is a political statement. By planking, rabbits can reformulate rules of behaviour on public transport and thus make it more public in a practical and political sense.