No free rides

Auckland City Harbour News - - OPINION -

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.

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