Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today announced the state’s security and fare evasion strategies on public transport had been a success, with a dramatic increase in the number of customers buying the correct tickets and 11,000 fines issued a month.
Ms Berejiklian said the NSW Government had undertaken the most comprehensive fare evasion study ever attempted in NSW in 2012, to guide fare evasion strategies since which included:
· The introduction of 150 transport officers to check tickets and provide assistance to customers on all modes – these officers are issuing up to 11,000 fines a month compared to the whole squad of former transit officers which averaged around 8000 per month;
· Turning off concession sales at ticket machines at selected stations, ensuring customers needed to show proof of entitlement – since this initiative was introduced concession sales dropped 10 per cent and full price tickets increased by the same amount, meaning 4 million extra full price tickets will be purchased this year;
· Replacing old gates at rail stations so they cannot be pushed open by fare evaders – at least 90 per cent of customers need to pass through a gate each day;
· Conducting patrols on buses to target over-riding, with some 7000 fines handed out in the last four months alone for this offence;
· The introduction of the Police Transport Command to take responsibility for security on the whole network.
“Fare evasion is unfair to the majority of people who pay their way and it means less money for us to spend on extra services and new infrastructure,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“The study showed us that while the level of fare evasion in Sydney was in line with similar cities, there were some key areas for improvement and we have been addressing these over the past year.
“One of the most effective impacts on reducing fare evasion will be the introduction of the Opal card, which ensures customers pay automatically for the distance they travel.”
The study found that overriding on buses and the misuse of concession tickets was a major form of fare evasion and there have been huge improvements since. Previous studies underestimated the number of people on the network who fare evade as they had been flawed.