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Ticket inspectors to board Canberra's buses and be at bus stops

Date

Tom McIlroy

Inspectors will be more regularly checking MyWay cards on ACTION buses and at bus stops.

Inspectors will be more regularly checking MyWay cards on ACTION buses and at bus stops.

Passengers who don't pay the correct fare on Canberra's ACTION Bus network face the prospect of fines from new ticket inspections. 

From June 23, inspectors will check ticket receipts and MyWay cards on board buses and at stops as the ACT Government moves to drive down fare evasion and protect network revenue. 

They will also check that passengers purchasing concession tickets have evidence of their entitlement to the reduced fare. 

A Territory and Municipal Services spokeswoman said while inspectors had patrolled Canberra buses in the past, their presence would be more regular as part of the anti-fare evasion program.

ACTION chief operating officer Bren Burkevics announced the plan on Monday, warning that the transport officers would check that MyWay cards have been tagged on, have enough credit and that the right concession entitlements were being claimed.

On boarding buses, inspectors will ask passengers to have their tickets and concession cards ready for inspection, before checking MyWay cards with portable electronic readers, a practice common in Sydney and Melbourne.

The inspectors will also also check the validity of receipts for cash fares issued by bus drivers and may also ask passengers to show photo identification to verify their entitlements.

“We are confident that most of our passengers are doing the right thing, but this initiative will help ensure travelling on our public transport system is fair and equitable," Mr Burkevics said. 

“The inspection of passenger tickets is common practice by public transport operators across Australia and is an important strategy to deter fare evasion and ensure everyone gets the benefit of a fair and equitable public transport system." 

Passengers found not to have paid the correct fare won't be fined in the first instance.

Mr Burkevics said they would be officially warned or directed to leave the bus.

After an education period across the ACTION network, fines may be issued to passengers identified as not having paid the correct fare. Passengers found to be repeat offenders may have their MyWay card disabled for future use. 

“Transport officers will check MyWay cards and ticket receipts on board buses and when passengers attempt to board or disembark at bus stops and stations," Mr Burkevics said. 

“The increased inspections will help protect ACTION revenues, ensure that passengers are paying their way and promote fair and equitable behaviour amongst the bus user community.”

Checks will take place on board buses but inspectors will seek not to delay or disrupt services while they carry out their duties.

Before carrying out fare evasion operations, inspectors will complete special training and be appointed as an authorised person, as mandated by road transport laws in the ACT.

In 2013, official figures showed one in three Canberra buses did not run on time. 

12 comments

  • NO WAY ! Those demands of ACTIONbuses' Ticket Inspectors for 'proof' of Pax-Identity are more draconian than the ACT Police's. Simply politely decline to join in their merry jape. Then see what happens - get off My Bus ! If the E-tag-on/E-tag-off system doesn't fix it, then is Fare Evasion really worth the cost. Remember- be especially polite - you're providing the ACT Govt with employment opportunities for Lifting everyone's Spirit.

    Commenter
    PAX VOBISCUM
    Date and time
    June 17, 2014, 8:57AM
    • I shall be delighted to decline (politely) whenever I am asked to provide 'proof' of pax ID.
      I can hardly wait to find out what will happen next !
      Leo Strauss's phrase "Reductio ad Hitlerum" come to mind, were it not for Godwin's Law.

      Commenter
      Pax Vobiscum
      Location
      Onya Bus
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 9:22AM
      • Interesting response - surely if you claim to be travelling on a concession fare, you should provide evidence of that - ie a concession card? I know there are "special" people everywhere who like to play games like declining to provide your ID - but really, to what benefit, other than giving someone doing their job legitimately a hard time? Very petty and very silly behaviour.

        Commenter
        Russell M
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        June 17, 2014, 10:43AM
    • And while they're focussing on the big issues, maybe inACTION could review the policy of only opening the middle doors at interchanges.

      Perhaps once the new ticketing stormtroopers have witnessed the rest of us having to stumble over someone's shopping or pram in an already overcrowded bus, just so that we might get to the front in time to 'tag off' and avoid a financial penalty, they could have a polite word with their superiors and see about doing the sensible thing.

      With the looming threat of heavy fines, I'm sure noone would be so foolish as to board through the middle doors without tagging on.

      Meanwhile, I personally dont think these measures go far enough. I would like to see inspectors given powers of arrest and a sidearm. I once had to catch a bus to tuggers on a Sunday (don't ask) and anyone who has had to do the same would understand this imperative.

      Commenter
      George
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 10:32AM
      • I agree. I used to catch the bus down Northbourne everyday. There are a lot of Frank Gallagher-type characters who jump on the bus without paying. It must be scary for the driver to deal with non-payers so inspectors are a really good idea.

        Commenter
        Teph 2
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        June 17, 2014, 3:38PM
    • Like it or not, proof of entitlement to a concession must be shown when asked for by an 'authorised person' - be this a transport fare, a concession theatre ticket, or other discount. Also proof of entitlement to that concession card (ie photo ID) can be asked for. again, by an 'authorised person'.

      Commenter
      ADG
      Date and time
      June 17, 2014, 11:02AM
      • @PAX, If you have paid the correct fare then you have nothing to worry about. I often wonder how many people do not pay a fare at all and get away with it.

        I see no problem at all with inspectors on the bus.

        Commenter
        M
        Location
        Canberra
        Date and time
        June 17, 2014, 11:25AM
        • Yes totally agree M, quiet often I see people get on without paying and the bus driver doesn't say anything, or if they have no money they get waved on to avoid confrontation and once I saw a bus driver let his girl friend and all her friends on without paying while us poor mugs who always pay were left disgusted and talking about the irony of it all.

          Commenter
          Joe
          Date and time
          June 17, 2014, 3:44PM
      • How does a passenger get past the Driver without either paying in cash, or tagging-on validly ? Then, if the Driver failed to establish the rightful status of the Passenger to any claimed concession, then Who will be at fault ? The Drivers have a difficult job, and I hope that they aren't going to get into strife from the findings of these supposedly 'authorised' "Ticket" inspectors. Where is the black-letter ACT Law which requires all Passengers to carry their proof of ID so that claimed status can be established ON THE BUS ? (Unlike the extant Law which obliges Vehicle Drivers to carry their Driving Licence while driving.) All this is quite amusing, as Parkinson's other Law relating to the "Bicycle Shed" evaluation, is evident here. We are huffing and puffing about chasing these petty cents of so-called 'Fare Evasion', while ignoring the money being burned by the ACT Govt 'giving away' concessions to mature-age Seniors without any regard to those beneficiaries' means to pay. Why is a Labor (Local-) Government getting (semi-) tough here ? Maybe it is a leaners' measure flowing-on from the lifters' LNP Fed's 2014 Budget ?

        Commenter
        MMM
        Date and time
        June 17, 2014, 3:07PM
        • It is rare for people not to pay a fare by dishonest means. It is not rare for a driver to show a bit of flexibility when there is someone in obvious difficulty and this is a good thing. It is one helpful thing they sometimes do. In contrast, the drivers do not usually assist anyone with prams etc. other than to put the ramp down for wheelchairs. They do not often ask people to vacate the disabled seats unless a wheelchair is getting on, or tell people to get their feet off the seats. They do not always lower the bus to help people with mobility problems or loads to carry. Sometimes they leave half the door shut, which makes it difficult for people who have shopping, children, or are just not svelte enough to squeeze through. However, they do seem generally to show fairly good judgement about who is a fare evader and who is not. Surely inspectors are not going to fine old people who get their fare wrong or who haven't understood Myway or can't find the card when they get on the bus, and other cases where a bit of compassion from the driver goes a long way. If you really want to make improvements, why not give the inspectors the power to spot fine people who stop their car in the bus stop.

          Commenter
          kim
          Date and time
          June 17, 2014, 11:12PM

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