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Have you been checked for a ticket on the train lately? If you have there is a high chance you were on the Werribee/Williamstown line.
Metro Trains and Public Transport Victoria will not say which train lines have been targeted by authorised officers or release historic rostering information for ticket inspectors.
But commuters have spoken of a recent heavy presence of authorised officers on the Werribee line.
A Metro spokeswoman said ticket inspectors work across all lines "most days" and on some occasions target specific lines.
When asked which lines were targeted by authorised officers both Metro and Public Transport Victoria pointed to fare evasion figures.
Public Transport Victoria's recent fare evasion survey estimated the rate of fare evasion on the Williamstown/Werribee line at 8 per cent – the highest of all train lines and more than double the rate of most other lines.
The Lilydale/Belgrave line was next with 5.8 per cent and lowest were Sandringham and Upfield/Craigieburn lines with 3.3 per cent.
Overall metropolitan train fare evasion has decreased to 4.1 per cent - the lowest level since 2008.
About 380 authorised officers are deployed across the public transport network and the number of fines issued has increased by 46 per cent since 2010-11 to 158,000 last financial year.
In addition, since August there have been 30,000 on-the-spot penalty fares of $75 issued.
Public Transport Users Association president Tony Morton said a lack of staffing meant Melbourne's public transport essentially operated as an "honesty system" with "hide and seek enforcement and secretive behaviour".
"What's wrong with having a fare and ticketing system that makes it as easy as possible to pay your fare and as difficult as possible to travel without one," he said.
He said there should be more staff on the system.
Dr Morton said information about the work of authorised officers should be publicly available.
"We are generally in favour of the public having access to information about the operation of a system that is ultimately there to serve the interests of the public," he said.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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