Ticket boom but train users not sold on gates

The Advertiser - - NEWS - ALEXAN­DRA LOKAN NORTH­ERN MES­SEN­GER

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.”

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