Someone else mentioned fixed readers on trains earlier in the thread. (I can't use quote on iPhone.) either that or I got cross threaded. Me bad.
Ultimately no figures are available in regards to fare evaders. Some lines have honest customers, others don't. The only statistics available are ticket sales and offenders that are caught. Funny enough all the government cares about are SEGS.
Single Entry tickets that are validated thru gates. Mind you one person puts a ticket in the wide gate and 100 people walk thru. Parramatta is a good example. Now throw into the equation all the stations that don't have gates and I estimate 30% of passengers don't buy tickets.
That's a huge amount of money lost.
Debt recovery thru OSR is a joke. If passengers can't honestly afford to buy a ticket, they can't afford to pay a fine. It's a visious circle. Your car rego or drivers license gets suspended thru fine default. But most fare evaders are using public transport because they don't have any other means of transport. What happens if a fare evader never held a drivers license? Nothing!
You can't go to jail for fine defaults.
It's only a matter of time till wages are garnished thru taxation to collect fines. But if you are on the dole that equates to $5 a week.
If you come undone for other crimes and are locked up, the fines are worked off in days while in the clink.
The UK has a incentive plan to pay fines on time. You get a 20% discount if the fine is paid within 21 days from memory.
I think Sydney Trains needs a harsh marketing campaign warning fare evaders about the consequences of not buying a ticket. Back in the late 80s a poster featured a dinosaur eating a fare evader. That poster was very successful in reducing the numbers. The poster is a collectors item now and worth a fortune. Wish I had one framed on the wall in my man cave!