Fare dodgers, be warned

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

ANY­ONE con­sid­er­ing tak­ing a ride on Auck­land’s trains with­out pay­ing should think again.

Ticket in­spec­tors are tri­alling body-worn cam­eras which will help them to iden­tify fare dodgers and deal with them more ef­fec­tively.

Cam­eras will al­low in­spec­tors to bet­ter iden­tify un­pay­ing pas­sen­gers who will be banned from the net­work and it’s hoped the cam­eras will im­prove staff safety.

Fig­ures show that about $1.5 mil­lion worth of fares were not paid on the city’s trains for the most re­cent year.

‘‘It’s frus­trat­ing for other pas­sen­gers if they’ve paid and they’re sit­ting op­po­site some­one who hasn’t,’’ train op­er­a­tor Trans­dev’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Terry Scott says.

‘‘The in­tro­duc­tion of the AT HOP card sys­tem at the end of 2012 has seen a slight in­crease in the rate of fare eva­sion com­pared to when people needed to pur­chase a ticket on the train.

‘‘The onus is now on pas­sen­gers to tag on and off,’’ Scott says.

The rate of fare eva­sion var­ied be­fore the AT HOP sys­tem was in­tro­duced but there was no ac­cu­rate way of mea­sur­ing it, ac­cord­ing to Auck­land Trans­port fig­ures.

Ticket oper­a­tors have had limited op­tions for deal­ing with fare dodgers un­til now.

Since Jan­uary, at least 12 rail staff and three Maori War­dens have been as­saulted by fare evaders they have con­fronted. Four re­quired med­i­cal at­ten­tion.

‘‘It should act as a de­ter­rent,’’ Scott says.

The trial will last for three months.

Auck­land Trans­port is in­ves­ti­gat­ing other op­tions in­clud­ing in­stalling elec­tronic gates at more train sta­tions to make it harder for people who haven’t paid.

Po­lice are also rou­tinely putting staff on trains, Auck­land City in­spec­tor Vaughn Gra­ham says.

The in­creased pres­ence is about re­duc­ing crime across the board though, he says.

Photo: EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Watch out: Train ticket in­spec­tors are tri­alling body­worn cam­eras to help them deal with fare dodgers.

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