Public transport authorities have denied they will profile certain passengers as part of a new blitz of fare evasion, despite research revealing young women are regular offenders.
Public Transport Victoria commissioned research from Monash University’s’s Institute of Transport Studies to narrow down the type of person most likely to fare evade and where that most likely occurs.
New data released reveals fare evasion is at its lowest levels in five years but more than 67,000 repeat fare evaders cost taxpayers about $60 million annually.
The typical profile of a deliberate fare evader is female, aged between 25 and 34 and works full time.
The majority of fare evasion occurs in the CBD when passengers travel just a couple of stops.
Despite the details available about who is most likely to offend, PTV chief executive officer Mark Wild denied that ticket inspectors would profile passengers as part of their latest campaign to recoup that money.
‘‘There’s no intention to target people; it’s more getting our resources to those locations,’’ he said.
This is despite Mr Wild also saying that the new campaign would be ‘‘targeted particularly on the repeat offenders that we know exist; we know where the hotspots are and we know the types of people who repeatedly freeload and fare evade on our system’’.
A new campaign to crack down on fare evasion will be launched on Sunday night to encourage what Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder called the ‘‘freeloaders’’ to stop ‘‘ripping off’’ those who buy a ticket.
‘‘More than 90 per cent of passengers have a valid ticket and they are sick of the small number of freeloaders who don’t pay their way,’’ he said.
The blitz will target bus, tram and train interchanges across Melbourne but in particular the CBD.
Mr Mulder said the amount of money lost annually could buy two X-Trapolis trains, six trams, 28 low floor buses and four VLocity trains.
‘‘What we know is that a large group of these people deliberately and repeatedly fare evade.
Others are paying their way. If we can capture this money and put it back into improving the network, additional services or provide new rolling stock for the rail network.
The campaign is expected to cost approximately $1 million.