Friday, 31 August 2012

Fare evasion

I was interested in this report ( that states (in the final paragraph) that, of all fare evasion in Melbourne, 72% of the revenue loss occurs on the trams.   Just how this figure is calculated completely baffles me, but it does ring true.    I don't use the trams as much as the trains, but it never ceases to amaze me, when I do use them, that many passengers appear not to validate a ticket.    I suppose some of them have 2-hour or daily Metcards, or a Myki pass (for a particular period) loaded on to their Myki, so in each case they're not avoiding a fare (although my understanding is that they're still supposed to re-validate the Metcard or touch-on the Myki, as appropriate).

These days there don't seem to be many ticket inspections on the trams.  It brings back memories of Melbourne in the late 60s, when ticket inspections on trams would occur regularly by lone "Ticket Inspectors" in green (a "braid").   During my stints working as a conductor during university vacations in those days, it was not uncommon to have an inspector on board several times in a week.   While of course they were looking for fare evaders (including passengers who over-rode the journey that they had paid for and students who were using their passes on a route that wasn't covered), they were also checking to make sure the conductor wasn't selling "windies" (re-used tickets).

It does seem that our society has become much more risk-averse, and so we have  "Authorised Officers" in teams (that sometimes seem to include up to 5 people) who are not nearly as nimble as inspectors in days gone by or for that matter as in other cities.

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