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Aggressive fare evasion strategy sending 'wrong' message

Posted by: Peter Maher | 14 November, 2012 - 6:27 PM
Fare evasion

Posters are displayed everywhere telling us that fare evasion is stealing and it won’t be long before the same posters will threaten us with jail time if we continue not to pay our fares.

How much of fare evasion though is down to downright stealing as suggested by Government and how much is down to inefficient ticketing provision of Myki.

Metcard finishes at the end of this year and if you reckon there have been some problems to this point I suggest you aint seen nothing yet when January comes around.

Declaring someone to be a thief when they have not stolen anything is tantamount to defamation and there were plenty of these so called thieves in Melbourne over the past two weeks. These thieves were here for the Spring Racing Carnival and the amount of time these thieves were asking fellow transport users how to purchase a ticket did not suggest to me they were stealing free rides on trams and trains.

Andrew Heslop is a former executive with Yarra Trams and also with the NSW transport system and he wrote a letter to the editor in the Herald Sun today outlining his frustration with these so called stealing freeloaders.


"In my experience as an executive with the former operator of Yarra Trams, as well as in the NSW system including as a ministerial adviser, I have viewed the marketing of networks around the world.

The message in Melbourne is wrong.  Everywhere you look, and I have just spent five days here, you are confronted with aggressive posters, signs and billboards screaming fare evasion is stealing.

Where are the messages that having a valid myki and travelling with the correct fare pays for new vehicles, extends the network and provides a safe, secure and reliable system.

Putting pride back into Melbourne's generally good transport network is fundamental."

"They act like fare evaders are trying to smuggle a suitcase full of drugs into Asia," Andrew told Peter Maher on 3AW Drive.

"The community will just turn off."



PLAY: Andrew Heslop, former executive with Yarra Trams

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Blog comments Your Say

  • In April my wifes Daughter and Daughter were visiting from Canada. When we tried to catch a train from our local station to the city, our only option, via a machine, was to purchase 4 Myki cards with a minimum included value of $60 each. So instead of spending $264 on one trip to the city, we drove! At this rate, I can understand people evading fares!

    Paul Friday 16 November, 2012 - 4:24 PM
  • Vic Public Transport need to step back and have a look and what they have created.
    An aggressive campaign of intimidation very similar in behaviour to the way totalitarian governments attempt to suppress certain activities of their citizens.
    How insidious the statement "this stealing will be RUBBED OUT". What exactly is the nature of the issue here? Organised crime? Drug running? Child pornography?
    Oh, that's right. It's people not being able to cope with a seriously flawed ticketing system on their own state run public transport system. Yes there are some habitual fare evaders and a reasonable fine should exist. The fact that prior to MYKI, the fare evasion problem was probably no different to most other places in the world should ring enough alarm bells to alert even the most simple minded that the new system, plus the way it has been administered, has created the problems that it now wishes to blame others for and punish them in similar ways to that of criminals.
    What an atrocious mess. This black and white police state attitude towards mostly law abiding citizens will continue to be wholly unacceptable to the vast majority of the public. Public Transport Victoria will never find a sympathetic public ear to plead to whilst they are allowed to pursue their campaign of unreasonable intimidation of a public who just want to use a tram or a train or a bus but are unable to in many circumstances due to a sub standard ticketing system.
    Stop punishing us for your sins.

    Eddy Thursday 15 November, 2012 - 11:20 AM
  • I haven't used public transport in Victoria since 2001. If I had to use public transport to get into the city today, I wouldn't know how to buy a ticket in Melbourne without doing a great deal of research or finding someone to assist me, which isn't easy on staions that don't have staff present.
    I have traveled to a number of countries around the world and have never had any real problem buying tickets and using trains or buses. Most countries with a similar system to Myki i.e. Singapore and Dubai make it simple and easy to buy either a card which you can use for 5 years or to buy a single travel ticket and if you have money left on the card when you leave the country, it's a simple matter of getting an immediate refund of the un-used money from the station staff. Therefore, if I can't purchase a train or bus ticket when I want it, I will either have to become a criminal or use a car or taxi.

    joe galea Thursday 15 November, 2012 - 9:53 AM
  • Caz, I agree with you.

    I don't often use public transport due to the nature of my travels, but when I do, you need a degree in research to find out the total fare required to be topped up on your Myki ticket to cover the cost of the trip, or if you ask somebody, first you have to find somebody that knows (and is open), and run the risk of the vending machine not being operational, or wear the expense of keeping your Myki excessively topped up, knowing that money is tied up for an unknown period until you next use the system.

    When you don't have a ticket, whether you forgot to top up, the ticket machine wasn't working, or you forgot to bring it when you left home, the stress levels and guilt are enormous when you finally realise. Due to time pressures, you cannot go home or find a working machine to get another ticket. Will I be arrested or thrown off at some unknown location on the way, will I be severely inconvenienced and late for my destination, will I get a fine that is more than my day's income, or will the inspector kindly smile, tell me how much it will cost and ask how I would like to pay for the trip?

    Yes fair avoidance is wrong, but a law abiding citizen should be able to go about their daily activities without fear if they obey the law to the best of their abilities. Ticket inspectors should be there to help where people have omitted to pay their way, and mechanisms such as ticket operated barriers at points of *entry* and departure should stop those that don't have any inclination to pay in the first place.

    Solomon's Sword Thursday 15 November, 2012 - 9:39 AM
  • If I go to Hong Kong, which is said to have one of the best train systems in the world, I can walk up to a person in a booth or a ticket machine and buy my ticket on the spot. I have no idea how to get a train ticket in Melbourne now.

    Want to get the system working and people travelling on the trains? Apart from the myki-type systems, also put a ticket seller and a security guard in every platform.

    Peter Hillster Thursday 15 November, 2012 - 6:46 AM
  • I agree entirely - not only are the messages aggressive, so are the inspectors! My 17 year old daughter was recently fined for forgetting to click on her myki one Saturday morning when, like most teenagers, she was half-asleep. It was a genuine error and she apologised to the inspector who pulled her up. However he was not happy to simply issue the fine but proceeded to interogate my daughter in a very threatening manner and to imply that the two forms of photo i.d she was carrying were not infact her! I complained to myki about this treatment and received a form-letter in response which did not address my concers about inspectors harrasing minors on trams and the consequential loss of respect this causes. I have written back to ask that my complaint is dealt with more thoroughly and as yet have had no response. This is not the first time I have heard stories of bullying behaviour by inspectors. The inspectors appear to have as many powers as Police Officers without having had the training in how to deal with the public that goes along with that level of responsibility.

    Catherine Wednesday 14 November, 2012 - 10:37 PM

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