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.