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'Too dangerous' to pay on-the-spot public transport fines with cash

Fare evaders will not be able to use cash to pay on-the-spot fines during a 12-month trial after transport bodies deemed it too dangerous for both passengers and train inspectors.

Last year, the state government passed legislation giving fare evaders the option to pay a $75 fine immediately by cash, credit or debit card, rather than the full $212 in a bid to fight fare evasion.

But several risk assessment reports from government and transport bodies concluded that carrying cash could not only pose a risk to ticket inspectors, but also passengers, who could be injured by armed attackers.

A Metro Trains report revealed that ticket inspectors faced an "increased threat of robbery and assault" if forced to carry cash on trains.

It suggested that staff should carry handcuffs, capsicum spray, alarms connected to police, shoulder cameras and wear stab-proof vests if collecting and carrying cash from fare-dodging passengers.

But Metro spokeswoman Leah Waymark said paying by cash has since been ruled out.

"The transport industry has deemed that cash-handing will not be a part of the trial," she said.

"The risks that were identified in internal reports are no longer relevant."

The trial, an initiative of the state government, is based on the London system, where on-the-spot fines have proven very effective, Ms Waymark said.

She said the Victorian plan had been designed to speed up the process of fine collecting, with passengers who choose to cough up the $75 on the spot not required to provide any personal details.

The dumping of cash payments is a relief for the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, which has fought against officers having to carry cash since the legislation was passed.

The union's branch secretary, Luba Grigorovitch, said that although the union has not been formally advised of the change, she was happy the government was "finally listening".

"Having the cash component was just such a stupid idea," she said.

"I'm glad they're listening and that nobody got hurt."

In a statement, a PTV spokesman said: "PTV and the operators participated an in independent risk assessment in the early planning stages to identify and mitigate any potential risks that may occur as the result of the introduction of an initiative such as this – this assessment did not recommend arming Authorised Officers in any way."

The introduction of penalty fees will be carried out over a 12-month period and re-assessed by authorised officers and unions in the last three months to determine the next steps, Ms Waymark said.

27 comments so far

  • ....and if you have just been mugged and robbed of all cash and cards and maybe a tad dazed and wander on without a Myki then the thugs will use capsicum spray and handcuffs? Get a grip! This is a ticket on public transport! If Mulder et al got off their backsides for five minutes and made ingress/egress at all railway stations impossible without passing through a ticket barrier and trams were ingress only at the front and egress only the back.....like so many other places which are light years ahead of Melbourne.....then the thugs would probably be back bouncing for Crown, which is all that someone who throws a 13 year old girl to the ground is fit for.

    Commenter
    Paul
    Location
    Chirnside Park
    Date and time
    May 16, 2014, 1:56PM
    • If you put barriers in all stations you would need every station to be permanently staffed to handle any problems.
      If trams were "ingress" at the front and "egress" only at the back it could take a while to load and unload at peak times. Just imagine people on their way home from work...everyone lined up to go in the front door with the back door not being used at all.

      Commenter
      Andrew
      Date and time
      May 16, 2014, 3:18PM
    • I know, Andrew...I know...how silly of me....what a stupid idea....hmm...perhaps with your obviously greater knowledge and experience than I have you can explain to us all why the system I proposed works, in my personal experience, everywhere else....the UK, Hong Kong, France, Germany Holland etc. etc.. The centre of the known universe is NOT Melbourne! In the past two days I have spoken with my computer repairer who said; "Australia is just so far behind with Wi Fi." And this morning my wife was banking and the chap from Indonesia dealing with her simply made the comment that Australia is slow and behind in everything. Perhaps a little opening of the eyes and not living in the way it has always been might help?

      Commenter
      Paul
      Location
      Chirnside Park
      Date and time
      May 16, 2014, 3:55PM
  • I’m a union delegate at work and a yearly ticket holder. I grabbed the wrong Myki by mistake a couple of months ago and got fined. I wrote an appeal and yes I was in the wrong but you’d think they’d give me a break.
    I had a ticket with money, just didn’t touch on. I could vent all day. Can’t believe they don’t have another option. I really hate how they privatised an infrastructure need with no competition. The tram system belonged to all of us. Not being able to buy a ticket is also awful. I feel they robbed me and my family and for what? So some horrible company can try and make a profit off something that tax payers built and we all need. This is a service. not everything needs to be for profit.

    Commenter
    Mr Chip 138
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 16, 2014, 1:59PM
    • Take it to court and represent yourself. If you had a yearly pass that wasn't being used on that day there's a good chance they won't pursue it, and a good chance a magistrate would side with you if they did.

      Commenter
      cjs
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 16, 2014, 2:39PM
    • ''Being in the wrong' just shouldn't cost what it does, when so many of the people being fined are found to be making 'honest mistakes', and it's not ALL that difficult to establish that.

      We were more fortunate when our daughter was fined ($212!!!) for not swiping her valid Myki one morning. We copied her uni timetable, printed out her myki records, showed that for every timetable block she had swiped her myki. Also sent in the detail of the fact that at the hour of her travel, we'd had an absolute deluge, to confirm her story that people were pushing in behind her as she was trying to swipe at a machine and had thought she'd heard the beep.

      I suspect whoever received the paperwork decided it was all too hard and the fine was withdrawn.

      I'd urge anyone who gets a fine, and who made an honest mistake, to send them as much information as you can muster. Perhaps they feel that anyone who goes to that effort may well pursue it further, as we would definitely have done.

      Commenter
      bornagirl
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 16, 2014, 4:40PM
  • Step 1: Buy eftpos system (you can get them to plug into an ipad).
    Step 2: Impersonate inspector (carry cuffs etc in a prominent place)
    Step 3: Claim touch on not valid
    Step 4: Profit.

    I don't think they have thought this through very well.

    Commenter
    Jase
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    May 16, 2014, 2:09PM
    • Jesse, I'm not sure if you have thought this through very well.

      Who would want to impersonate a ticket inspector?

      Commenter
      mattoxic
      Location
      Mont Albert
      Date and time
      May 16, 2014, 3:21PM
    • @Jase, genius! If your idea catches on we might even reduce the rising unemployment rate!

      Commenter
      Andrew
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 16, 2014, 3:33PM
  • Great!
    Will there be on the spot fines for late, cancelled or diverted transport?
    Why am I paying for services that are not provided? If my employer docks my pay for arriving late
    because of transport not running according to timetable, it only seems fair the real culprit should pony up. Oh and yes, no cash please, I don't want to be robbed whilst traveling on the unsafe transport I'm paying for.

    Commenter
    dustymiller
    Location
    melbourne
    Date and time
    May 16, 2014, 2:18PM

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