No free rides
I travel daily on the trains and see fare dodgers trying all sorts of tricks you are probably aware of already.
I’ve seen a group of young men get on a carriage and promptly jump off again when they spot a ticket inspector on the train.
I see passengers changing to a different seat when ticket inspectors arrive through a carriage door. Headphone listeners and ‘‘sleepers’’ also avoid ticket inspection, and last week I encountered something under my seat which I initially thought was a black dog, but turned out to be a young woman hiding under there.
I’ve also heard some wild excuses that can in no way be plausible!
Some of it is a game to see if they can get away with it, some of it is genuine hardship. But whatever, I definitely think fare evaders should be charged – and the sooner the better as $1.5 million is a heavy subsidy on any city’s ratepayers for their transport system.
That said, I believe the ticketing system AT set up for our tickets was rife for abuse right from the start.
I saw it as designed only for the honest passengers, and having done away with personnel now, it should not be any surprise that fare evasion is as widespread as it is. Sometimes we can ride from our station to the city and not see a rail official.
I’m a firm advocate for public transport and greatly appreciate the progress Auckland is making, but I believe AT’s ticketing system is fundamentally flawed if it expects honesty with such a system, and it urgently needs a creative rethink if it hopes to cut down on such widespread fare evasion.