Fare evasion declining, but may never subside

A recent study has shown fare evasion is steadily decreasing, however it appears that there may still be a few flaws in the public transportation system that will never subside.

According to a report produced by Public Transport Victoria, there has been a clear decline in fare evasion over the past few years. From May 2011 to October 2013, evasion rates for trams reduced by half, from 20.3% to 8%.

According to Graham Currie, from Monash University’s Institute of Transport Studies, a minority of travellers will continue to evade fares due to “risk-taking” and having a negative perspective on the reasoning behind fare costs.

Currie refers to this category of travellers as “recidivists” and provides suggestions on how fare evasion can be avoided. He believes that through an increase in ticket-checking and fine values,

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recidivists will be persuaded to pay for their fares and ultimately stop fare

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evading.

Another element that contributes to fare evasion, according to Currie, is the slight flaws in myki cards and how they are used. Graham concludes that approximately 95% of the time, people who have been fined for fair evasion did it accidentally because they had forgotten to swipe on or top-up their myki card. Another concern is “people forgetting to tap on

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and off”.

This seems to be the case for university student Clancy Holzgrefe who, on occasion, has boarded a train or tram and hasn’t realised that there is no money on her myki, ultimately resulting in her being unable to tap on and off. Several other students told Catalyst they had similar issues, and thought the myki system was “a hassle” and that top-up lines are “too long”.

Sarah Maunder, another student at RMIT, says on several occasions she has missed her train due to the extremely long lines at the top-up machines. As a current student she is entitled to a concession for transport, and although this will provide her with cheaper fares, there is a fee and long-winded process that you must complete before receiving the concession. Sarah refers to it as basically having to “pay for the discount”.

While myki cards were implemented to improve the public transport system, it appears this is not entirely the case and has caused travellers to miss trains and stand the risk of being fined.

By Shaye Milford

@shayemilford

Photograph via Flickr.

 

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