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West Island man out $350 after overpaying on wrong train ticket

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A West Island man is out hundreds of dollars after accidentally buying the wrong Exo train ticket – one worth more than the fare he was supposed to pay.

William Mattsson says he was in a rush one day in October 2022. The then-19-year-old was headed from the West Island to an Alouettes game in downtown Montreal.

"I made the mistake of buying [an unlimited evening] ticket, which is actually more expensive than just a one-way downtown," said Mattsson, now 22.

He tried to explain to the inspector that he mistakenly bought the $5.76 night ticket, not the $3.50 day fare. The inspector initially told Mattsson he would likely receive a reduced fine, but that wasn't the case.

"A couple of days or weeks later, we get the ticket in the mail, and it's a full $272 ticket," he said.

Mattsson mistakenly bought the $5.76 night ticket, not the $3.50 day fare (Kelly Greig / CTV News)His mother, Andrea Laliberte, kept all the paperwork showing he paid for a ticket. She said it was a simple mistake that's now ballooning.

"The machines are confusing. If you're rushing at all, you have to keep scrolling over and over and over to find [the right fare]. And you’ve got A zones, B zones," she said. "We've bought the night ticket twice now instead of the day ticket. So that's easy to do."

The Exo train service said its inspectors were in the right, telling CTV News in a statement, "the person would have noticed that the ticket was not approved since a red light would have flashed on the terminal.

"It is important to say that our trains work on a payment and honour basis since there are no turnstiles on the train platforms," it added.

William Mattsson waits for a train (Kelly Greig / CTV News)Mattsson tried to fight the ticket but claims he was never notified of one of the court dates, meaning the trip that was supposed to cost $3.50 will now cost nearly $350.

"I just – I can't even," said Laliberte. "He's paid $2 more for the ticket, and he's being fined now, at the end of the day, $350."

"I was furious," added Mattsson "Even my mom was kind of yelling and freaking out a bit… we were all pretty shocked and upset."

Mattsson wants to warn others how easy it can be to make this mistake.

"My hands are kind of tied here. There's nothing I can really do except pay the ticket," he said.

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