The Metlink Revenue Protection Plan published by The Age on Saturday had some interesting points. Some notes I made while looking through it (some of which were not included in the article):
Page 12 seems to accept that in most cases, more staff will reduce most types of evasion. Can’t argue with that — most types of automated checking (eg validators and fare gates) can’t catch evaders:
(Strategies to reduce evasion include) Increased staffing, improve use and deployment of staff.
Page 14 spells out that the policy is not to fine people who don’t re-validate their already valid tickets:
By law, passengers are required to validate a ticket before every journey, and it is desirable to encourage this behaviour where possible, particularly in the light of the impending new ticketing system. However, it is not intended to enforce this by issuing a RONC in cases where an otherwise valid ticket has been initially validated but not re-validated for that journey as this behaviour is not classified as fare evasion.
This one issue is likely to continue to be vexed under the new ticketing system.
Page 21 considers attitudes to Authorised Offices and fines, noting that most people consider the size of fine is “out of touch”. Can only agree. $174 for a first fare evasion offence; and it goes up from there. The problem is a lot of regular evaders don’t get caught, so they’ve made the fine high to try and convince people to pay. I think a lower fine, with more regular checking, is a better way to cut evasion rates.
Customers also believe the size of the fine is ‘out of touch’ with the magnitude of the offence.
Page 26 notes that the ticket system needs to be easy to understand, and consistent (maybe they should fix the first validation requirement on Myki Short Term tickets bought from railway station machines then):
Depending on where you are in the system, as a consumer you will be faced with differences in ticket range, methods of payment, customer information and with a ticket which may be validated or not.
Page 47 spells out that the CBD station gates are staffed only from 7am to 10pm. This was written by Connex, under their contract, but it doesn’t seem to have changed under Metro (I need to check the contract though).
…all CBD barriers are under supervision by staff from 7.00am to 10.00pm daily…
I find it surprising and disappointing they don’t staff until the last train, given large numbers of people still in the CBD most nights – surely consistency is important to remind people that you must have a ticket, no matter what time you’re travelling?
And what happens when they close off the Elizabeth Street exit to Flinders Street after 10pm, and leave it unstaffed? This:
Page 52 says there are only 12 bus AOs for the whole of Victoria. Mind you, most bus tickets get checked by the driver, so evasion is low, and is mostly concession fraud rather than not having a ticket at all.
The majority of offences detected on buses relate to concession eligibility.
…the Bus Association of Victoria has employed 12 full-time AOs to help reduce fare evasion across Melbourne and Regional Victoria.
Page 54: Did they really not gazette (eg introduce into law) the Myki Fares+Ticketing Manual until well after Myki commenced on regional town buses?! That’s weird.
There have been no reports of non compliance submitted since myki has commenced trialling, as the myki fares and ticketing manual has not been gazetted.
Page 57 talks about V/Line, but makes no mention of problems with conductors being unable to walk through multiple-unit V/Locity trains to check tickets on the whole train. So on long trains they can only move through by swapping carriages at stations.
Page 66 includes the total network-wide cost of fare evasion: $62,018,697 million per year, as-of the first half of 2009. The biggest cost is on trams ($35 million), followed by trains ($21.5 million) and buses ($5.5 million).
Page 72 notes that only around 2.39% of tram passengers get their tickets checked by Authorised Officers. It also includes figures for other modes (pages 67-72), but remember, on buses almost all tickets are checked by bus drivers as well, and on trains most passengers going through CBD and other major stations effectively get their tickets checked at the gates.
The difference on trams is that tickets are only checked by AOs. So in other words, on any tram trip, you’ve only got a 1 in 41 chance of getting your ticket checked. No wonder tram fare evasion is costing the most of the three modes.