Ticket boom but train users not sold on gates
COMMUTERS say they are a waste of money, but the Transport Department has not ruled out ticket gates at more train stations after a “massive” increase in sales.
Regular users of Salisbury station have for months claimed they have seen fare evaders taking free rides by using an open entrance next to the gates.
Similar gates have now been installed at Noarlunga station, where the same problem is happening.
But the Transport Department says the gates have been a “significant deterrent” for fare evaders and resulted in a “massive” increase in tickets being bought at Salisbury.
“Since the validation gates commenced operation in September 2017, ticket sales and recharges at machines at Salisbury station often exceed $1000 each day,” a spokesman said, adding they were “virtually non-existent” before that.
In an advertiser.com.au poll, 85 per cent of more than 900 voters said they believed the gates – installed as part of a $2.1 million effort to crack down on free rides – were a waste of money.
For security reasons the entrances next to the gates are opened when the stations are unmanned. Passengers are then expected to validate their ticket on the train.
Regular Salisbury station users said it was usually manned during peak travel hours from about 7am and again at 6pm, but outside of those hours many people walked around the ticket gates.
Resident Sandy Holloway said she was frustrated the gates were put in at a “huge cost to the taxpayer” but were in use only some of the time.
“What annoys me the most is that the gates are operational during peak hour when most regular users, those going to and from work, the ones more likely to have full-fare tickets, are targeted,” she said. “There are no gates on the other side of the line. Why is this?”
Linda Cutler, of Salisbury, said she had never seen compliance officers at the station on a Saturday or Sunday, meaning it was a free-for-all for fare-evading passengers.
“I can’t understand why there are gates only on one side. Do only dishonest people live in Salisbury area and need to have gates, (and) only for the trip towards Adelaide?” she said. “Waste of money, only half the job done.”
The department spokesman said staff manned the station for “significant periods” but gates would continue to be opened for safety reasons when unattended. Asked about plans for gates at other stations, he said: “We continually review our operations and security at stations and on board to reduce incidents of fare evasion.”