Metlink cracks down on fare dodgers
Wellington’s public transport sys- tem could be losing millions of dollars a year because of rail passengers dodging fares.
Public transport provider Metlink has announced it will introduce random ticket checkpoints on some train services, in an effort to put a stop to potential lost earnings for Greater Wellington Regional Council.
With international benchmark figures showing 5 to 10 per cent of commuters do not pay for their fares, a council spokeswoman said that number could be as much as $5 million a year.
‘‘At the moment, we don’t know [how much we are losing], which is why we are conducting this exercise.’’
The sustained loss of earnings could mean law-abiding customers having to pay increased fares, the council said.
General manager of public transport Wayne Hastie said the culprits were either not paying for their journeys, or travelling further than their tickets allowed.
Using the international benchmark, those people could be costing the council $2.5m to $5m each year.
The shortfall was made up by others who funded the service, such as ratepayers, the New Zealand Transport Agency and public transport users.
‘‘Ticket revenue helps fund the rail service and contributes to the upkeep of our rail infrastructure, which includes maintenance of trains and stations.
‘‘It helps keep the contribution from rates down, and also keeps the fares affordable.’’
Metlink will place temporary barriers at the end of station platforms during the checks, and passengers will be asked to show their tickets before exiting.
Anyone who has not paid the correct amount will be asked to pay by cash, or directed to an eftpos machine.
‘‘Checking tickets periodically is good business sense, and [something] which many other businesses do to ensure that customers have paid for goods,’’ Hastie said.
‘‘We will try and make this process as quick as possible.’’
The council could not confirm when the initiative would start, or how many stations would be targeted.
There were a total of 12.8 million rail passenger trips last year.
Metlink will introduce random ticket checkpoints on some train services.
"It’s fair enough. The question would be whether it’s worth it for them to pay the staff to find enough people doing it.’’