Oh Fare evasion is up and patronage is down!

 
  ewokracing Locomotive Fireman

last year my E-bay/PayPal account got hacked from an IP address in China and I've got a twelve letter/number password!
don_dunstan

PayPal is notoriously insecure. It's really just a form of double dipping for Ebay since they own it.

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  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
An AO should be able to scan and read the more recent transactions on the account as the data is all stored on the system rather than the card.  That includes the touch on aboard a Z1 tram for which there is no requirement to touch off and if you then touched on in good faith for your next trip and perhaps hadn't noticed the system touched you off that should not constitute an offence.  Rather it is a system-related failure.  You have for all practical purposes done the right thing.
  Gauntlet Chief Commissioner

Location:
Today I caught a tram in zone 1, and dutifully touched on when boarding.  On getting off, still in zone 1, I did not touch off, because I believed I didn't need to.  Some time later, I took another tram and again dutifully touched my card.  The display said "Touch off successful".  Fortunately I saw that, so waited a few seconds and touched the card again.  This time it said "Touch on successful".  Had I not noticed the first message, I would have been travelling with an invalid ticket, even though I believed I had done the right thing, and possibly would have had trouble explaining myself to an inspector.
Lad_Porter
It sounds like both your tram trips were on the same vehicle so the second "touch on" was deemed to be a touch off for the first trip.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
It sounds like both your tram trips were on the same vehicle so the second "touch on" was deemed to be a touch off for the first trip.
Gauntlet
Bingo... it's happened to me several times.  Your tram has gone to the city turned around and come back and you happen to get the same one home again.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
It sounds like both your tram trips were on the same vehicle so the second "touch on" was deemed to be a touch off for the first trip.
Gauntlet
That's quite possible.  They were on the same line, and were both Zs, but I didn't notice if was the same actual tram each time.

If that's the case, is it a failure of the system and will something be done about it?  (Expected answers:  "yes" and "no")

The lesson is to read the screen.  And as I said before, different tones for touch-on and touch-off would be helpful.
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
I see the scenario as:
1. You touched on a tram, got off at your stop without touching off (as is deemed "normal" under the tram side of Myki).
2. You never travelled on any tram, train or bus afterwards, until on the way back.
3. By extreme luck, you managed to board the exact same tram and then attempted to touched on, but since the Myki system never knew you left the tram to begin with, it thought you were finally touching off.

My answer in this case would be a "no". The Myki system didn't even know that you left the tram (as you never validated in another vehicle or at a station between trips), so it is not a glitch in the system.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
PayPal is notoriously insecure. It's really just a form of double dipping for Ebay since they own it.
ewokracing
Despite what they say; Ebay decided cash clearance was the way to go and they've been making a mint from it.  It's not good from a consumer point of view though - very expensive if you get paid by someone with it; and as you say, not nearly as secure as they claim.

This announcement about the $75 on-the-spot fine is really going to open up the whole system to corruption in my opinion.

"You didn't touch on - now give me $75 in cash"

People I know who are habitual fare evaders will be more inclined to continue with their behaviour with the much smaller penalty. The system is becoming a parody of itself.
  Madjikthise Assistant Commissioner

No name or other details taken if you pay on the spot. So even if you get caught 10 times a year it's still a massive saving if you travel 5 return trips a week for 48 weeks a year. No incentive to even think about maybe buying a myki.

As for paypal, it's all in the buyer's favour if anything goes wrong.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
I see the scenario as:
1. You touched on a tram, got off at your stop without touching off (as is deemed "normal" under the tram side of Myki).
2. You never travelled on any tram, train or bus afterwards, until on the way back.
3. By extreme luck, you managed to board the exact same tram and then attempted to touched on, but since the Myki system never knew you left the tram to begin with, it thought you were finally touching off.

My answer in this case would be a "no". The Myki system didn't even know that you left the tram (as you never validated in another vehicle or at a station between trips), so it is not a glitch in the system.
Heihachi_73
 
A few weeks ago I was traveling on trams In the Dutch city of Den Haag and the conductor was watching every person like a hawk as they taped their card on and off the reader, If you didn't they Insisted you do so.

The same story on Rotterdam trams, apart from a lot of their trams didn't have a conductor.

Rotterdam system a bit like Melbourne's ticketing system In a way.
I had this Instruction to catch number 7 tram down to the river and get off at the second last stop.
First there was no number 7 tram outside Rotterdam Centaaral Station (the map and signs said there was)
Ok I wonder around the CBD to I find a #7 tram going to the terminus I wanted.
Ok found one.
Tram stop has no ticket machine, the tram has no ticket machine ! no conductor on the tram (like Amsterdam's silly tram setup)
Well I'm riding the tram anyway to the stop I wanted.
I ask at my accommodation about the tram system, and they said all trams are on deviation (running different routes) due to track work, but the operator didn't provide a map of the diverted routes.
I asked about the ticketing system how It worked (after spending a lot of time using the very easy to use Deutsche Bahn and their many urban ticketing systems) and was told that the designers of the Rotterdam system didn't really think about tourists using the system.

Meanwhile up the River In the Swiss boarder City of Basel, all tourist staying at accommodation within the city Is entitled to free public transport within local city transit zone.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
This announcement about the $75 on-the-spot fine is really going to open up the whole system to corruption in my opinion.

"You didn't touch on - now give me $75 in cash"

People I know who are habitual fare evaders will be more inclined to continue with their behaviour with the much smaller penalty. The system is becoming a parody of itself.
don_dunstan
Spot on there

Habitual fare evader will just make sure they have access to $75 at any given time they travel and luck will be on their side.

The fare evader penalty should double every time a person Is catched by Inspectors.

And If they still don't pay force them to do community service, cleaning up urban waterways etc.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
The system is a parody of itself


Too right!!!

And while I understand the intent behind the new $75 on-the-spot fines (which is a system that works well in many other places) it shows just how inept the entire revenue collection and enforcement system actually is.

Yes there should be fines for non-compliance.  In Victoria we are saddled with the "Penalty Units" system which is more of a hindrance in most scenarios than a help.  The penalty should be a cash value which is sufficient to deter evaders and cover the costs of its own recovery.  How about $500?  Review it every 5 years to ensure it has kept pace with other rising costs.

The reporting system is also woefully cumbersome.  Two AOs required to report and verify detection of an offence, enforced detention until the arrival of Police if the "victim" cannot produce 100 points of photo ID (despite there being no legal requirement to carry any form of ID let alone photo ID), paperwork then submitted to the DoT who make a decision on whether to fine or not. Possibly 10 staff involved for several hours in total to achieve a cost recovery of little over $200 in most cases.  That won't even pay for their time never mind restore the losses to the operator.

Quick and easy is how it's done elsewhere.  And often by a single staff member.  An on-board conductor automatically has the right to check tickets in the UK and can issue penalty fare notices on the spot.  No ID, just a fixed cash penalty.  No delay or detention, virtually no paperwork.  But it's swift justice for those who fare-evade and there are checks on almost every train.

But before we instigate a bigger stick we also need to have user-friendly, reliable and functional ticketing.  Myki still seems to be significantly distrusted and misunderstood.  There is seldom anyone to help you unless you board at a premium station.  What is "premium" about having a member of staff to assist you beats me.  It should be the very least of requirements.

Bus drivers offer little help and cannot answer much more than a simple query regarding their own route - with a few honourable exceptions.  Tram drivers are (again with a few exceptions) unable to help at all as they have no connection with the ticketing system at all.

It could be argued to be unfair to use big stick tactics for so long as this situation continues.  However something clearly has to be done to reduce fare evasion much of which I suspect is unintentional and caused by unfamiliarity with the system and / or inability to buy tickets at point of system entry.  If I had the magic answer I could make enough by selling it to the Victorian Government that I could retire overnight.  

What we see is a system which is manifestly not working as intended and which is resulting in greater non-compliance than under the previous (far from perfect) system.  What is needed is a swift and decisive rethink.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
I see the scenario as:
1. You touched on a tram, got off at your stop without touching off (as is deemed "normal" under the tram side of Myki).
2. You never travelled on any tram, train or bus afterwards, until on the way back.
3. By extreme luck, you managed to board the exact same tram and then attempted to touched on, but since the Myki system never knew you left the tram to begin with, it thought you were finally touching off.

My answer in this case would be a "no". The Myki system didn't even know that you left the tram (as you never validated in another vehicle or at a station between trips), so it is not a glitch in the system.
Heihachi_73
Your points 1 & 2 are correct, and from the circumstances, point 3 is also correct.  However, I would disagree that it is not a glitch, because the consequence is that on the second trip, although acting in good faith and with no intention to defraud, I would be travelling with a touched-off card.  I can't believe that the system, or its developers, would ever have intended such an outcome.

The problem really lies not with the system, but with the way it has been implemented.  In the original planned implementation, where you always touched off when exiting the tram, this situation should never happen.  I fully understand why the requirement to always touch off was removed, but in doing so an unforeseen bug has been introduced.  A classic case of not using a system the way the designers/developers intended it to be used, and then getting a strange result.  Whether the original design was adequate or appropriate is beside the point;  that's the way it is.

It seems from don_dunstan's comments that this has happened before, so mine is not an isolated occurrence.
  Some rail man Junior Train Controller

Location: CIA Headquarters in Washington D.C
meanwhile in NSW on the buses............
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
The penalty should be a cash value which is sufficient to deter evaders and cover the costs of its own recovery.  How about $500?  Review it every 5 years to ensure it has kept pace with other rising costs.
Gwiwer
The problem with really large fines is that people who are poor or on the margins to begin with have no hope of paying.  $500 is a fortnight's wages for someone on the dole.  It's also incentive to do something desperate and kick the sh*t out of the people trying to fine you as has happened many times already.  I for one would consider doing something radical if there was the prospect of being fined $500.


If I had the magic answer I could make enough by selling it to the Victorian Government that I could retire overnight.
Gwiwer
Mmm, I dunno.  How about implementing the system in its entirety and as it was originally planned so you can buy the disposable Mykis they have sitting on pallets at stations and on vehicles? They don't even have to go that far.  When I was in Perth last year their top-up machines would print you out a daily or single-trip 'cash ticket' on paper.  Much more expensive, obviously, but from a tourist's point of view better than having to buy a stupid plastic card you'll never use again.
  alstom_888m Chief Commissioner

Location:
The problem with really large fines is that people who are poor or on the margins to begin with have no hope of paying.  $500 is a fortnight's wages for someone on the dole.  It's also incentive to do something desperate and kick the sh*t out of the people trying to fine you as has happened many times already.  I for one would consider doing something radical if there was the prospect of being fined $500.
don_dunstan
Maybe that's the point. I don't even get why "fare evasion" is it's own offence. It is no different to shoplifting, and they should carry the same penalty. This a $280 fine (two penalty units) for a first offence.

By contrast in London, while a fine for fare evasion might be £80 for a first offence ("oh, I didn't realise I was out of myki money"), those who are found to have been deliberately trying not to pay (i.e. simply walks past the bus driver, or jumps over the barriers at a railway station) cop a £1000 fine and be landed with a criminal conviction.

These people are criminals.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
in London, while a fine for fare evasion might be £80 for a first offence ("oh, I didn't realise I was out of myki money"), those who are found to have been deliberately trying not to pay (i.e. simply walks past the bus driver, or jumps over the barriers at a railway station) cop a £1000 fine and be landed with a criminal conviction.

Exactly my point.  For a first offence $75 and no questions asked is a slap on the wrist.  One reason we have endemic fare evasion is that the punishment available is so meagre that you are, according to many reports, often financially ahead over a year if you end up fined two or three times but never pay for your daily commute.

The fines need to act as a deterrent not an inconvenience.  Yes I know $500 is a lot for many people but if you pay the fare instead there's no problem.  Public transport isn't a charity - there are no concessions when it comes to operating costs so there should be no leniency (after a first offence - we're all capable of making a mistake) in issuing fines.

Just to show it cuts both ways however my sister in the UK will happily flout parking restrictions in her car on the grounds that if she gets one fine a month it's still cheaper than paying the meter; she sees it as a parking surcharge.  There is no conviction involved and the fine is so small that it deters no-one.
  AzN_dj Chief Commissioner

Location: Along route 69
Exactly my point.  For a first offence $75 and no questions asked is a slap on the wrist.  One reason we have endemic fare evasion is that the punishment available is so meagre that you are, according to many reports, often financially ahead over a year if you end up fined two or three times but never pay for your daily commute.

The fines need to act as a deterrent not an inconvenience.  Yes I know $500 is a lot for many people but if you pay the fare instead there's no problem.  Public transport isn't a charity - there are no concessions when it comes to operating costs so there should be no leniency (after a first offence - we're all capable of making a mistake) in issuing fines.

Just to show it cuts both ways however my sister in the UK will happily flout parking restrictions in her car on the grounds that if she gets one fine a month it's still cheaper than paying the meter; she sees it as a parking surcharge.  There is no conviction involved and the fine is so small that it deters no-one.
Gwiwer
However if fines were $500 then there isn't much parity to the fines overall. Why should someone who fare evades pay more of a penalty than someone who drinks and drives? The fare evader isn't causing harm or damage, nor is he or she putting anyone at danger, only loss of revenue. The drunk driver is more likely to cause harm or damage, and is putting the community at danger.

Fining a situation doesn't solve the root cause of the problem, only the symptoms. The large rise in fare evasion is most likely in response to Myki being difficult to negotiate with, which would be solved with short term tickets and machines on trams. If fares are considered too high for most people,  then consider lowering fares, changing fare structure, etc. People thinking that they are likely to get away with it? Increase the rate of checks (which would require more staff, yes), or check tickets in a more effective manner (swamp operations for example).  

It is really stupid and ironic that under the proposal, you won't be allowed to buy a ticket on a tram, but you are allowed to pay your fine on the tram, with the option of EFTPOS or credit card also!!!
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
It is really stupid and ironic that under the proposal, you won't be allowed to buy a ticket on a tram, but you are allowed to pay your fine on the tram, with the option of EFTPOS or credit card also!!!
AzN_dj
It's not irony, it's a sign that they've given up themselves on trying to properly enforce their own penalty notice system in favour of one that actually raises more revenue by itself.  But yeah 'more ways to pay' doesn't apply to people trying to do the right thing, perversely.  It also kind of defeats the purpose if the fine is no deterrent - I do understand where Gwiwer is coming from on that one.

And the serial fare evaders I know will be clapping their hands together at the prospect of their fines actually going down, I think there's every chance it will just make fare evasion worse.
  alstom_888m Chief Commissioner

Location:
The large rise in fare evasion is most likely in response to Myki being difficult to negotiate with, which would be solved with short term tickets and machines on trams. If fares are considered too high for most people,  then consider lowering fares, changing fare structure, etc. People thinking that they are likely to get away with it? Increase the rate of checks (which would require more staff, yes), or check tickets in a more effective manner (swamp operations for example).
AzN_dj
No, the rise in fare evasion is due to the lowest scum form of society realising that Myki is an honour system. Such scum will simply walk on board, intimidating the driver if need be, before sitting down in the back seat, opening a can of VB, and perhaps swearing random expletives.

If you can't afford to pay your fare; then you can't afford booze, smokes, or more likely; drugs such as pot or meth.

No it's not okay if you are only going 3 stops, no it's not okay if you are a poor homeless bum; that's why we have Centrelink! No I don't care if you are travelling from Latrobe interchange to get to "Language Centre". No, no, no, f**king NO! If you jump on my bus without touching on, you are a thief, you are stealing from Metro, Yarra Trams, Transdev, Dysons, Ventura, CDC, and other assorted operators.

I long for the day I'm in a cage then I can say "I'm not moving until you've paid, and you can't smash me 'cause I'm in a cage."
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
I understand the outrage but the fact is you're risking your personal safety taking these people on.  My advice is: Don't do it. Like that bloke who got sacked from Dan Murphy's for chasing down a shoplifter, there will be absolutely no thanks from your employer for doing it.

The fact that people can (and will) habitually fare evade is not your specific problem.
  alstom_888m Chief Commissioner

Location:
Yeah I understand that first hand. I was assaulted and spat on on a 253 run a few months back. Not that I ordered they pay directly: but they had a got at me for being late, and my response was how dare they give me a mouthful when I knew full well that they were habitual fare evaders. Always were on the way from Garbage City to Johnston St to score their smack, they always seem so much more pleasant on their return journey.

Yet my Service Delivery Manager tells me it's my job to call these thugs back, unless they are threatening or otherwise.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Okay, I'm really sorry to hear that, what a terrible thing to happen to you at work.  Did you get the Jacks onto them?  (I used to work in a job helping smackies so I know the lingo!) What's the procedure when you get physically assaulted?

Nobody should have to put up with that crap from smackies; and how pathetic for having a go when you are late - as you may know from my posts I'm a frequent user of the 220 and it's very unreliable but I fully understand there's no control the drivers have over that.  It doesn't seem to stop the other nuff nuffs who regularly catch it having a go at the poor drivers however.
  alstom_888m Chief Commissioner

Location:
The Senior Supervisor took me down to the local police station to report it and gave them the footage of the incident on DVD. After a few months it was shown on the news and was reported in The Age (where it was erroneously reported as happening at Northland) and the police went and got them after a tip off.

My worst fear is that they'll eventually jump on my bus again one day.

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