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Addressing Fare Evasion

Yesterday Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced a law changes that will come next year to make it easier to deal with fare evasion. Currently there is a penalty of $150 for fare evasion but only the police are able to enforce it. In the future warranted ticket inspectors will be able to take the details fare evaders so infringement notices of $150 can be issued and if the person refuses to comply then if convicted they could be issued a fine of up to $1,000.

Simon Bridges - fare evasion

As mentioned above these changes aren’t immediate as they will require a law change to go through parliament and that is not expected till some time next year however they do seem like a step in the right direction.

Here is Bridges speech at the event yesterday. I noticed in particular that he says he is well aware of the rapidly increasing patronage thanks to Len Brown reminding him almost every day

Here is his press release.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges says public transport users who deliberately avoid paying fares will face penalties under changes to the rules on fare evasion, which will be made to the Land Transport Act in 2016.

While previously there has been a fare evasion offence, it has been very difficult to enforce. Under these changes, councils may appoint warranted enforcement officers who will have powers to:

Ask passengers to provide evidence they have paid a fare;
Ask passengers to advise their name, address and date of birth if they cannot produce evidence of a valid ticket;
Advise the passenger to get off the public transport service.
As before, fare evaders will face an infringement fee of $150 or a maximum fine of $500 on conviction if evidence of a fare cannot be provided. But there will now also be a new offence of failure to comply with an enforcement officer’s directions to provide details or leave the service, which will carry a maximum fine of $1,000 on conviction.

In challenging situations enforcement officers will still be able to call on Police for assistance, but the need for this will be significantly reduced by these new measures.

“Auckland Transport raised the issues around fare evasion with me and it has been good to work constructively with them to help ensure public transport is a success in our biggest city,” Mr Bridges says.

“Evasion of public transport could be as high as six percent – or $2 million a year – on Auckland’s rail network alone, and without action, these numbers could rise further.

“Left unchecked evasion of fares increases the costs of public transport for paying passengers as well as taxpayers and ratepayers who subsidise the services.

In doing so it undermines the integrity of the ticketing systems used and the effectiveness of public transport generally.

“While these changes will be of immediate use in Auckland especially on rail, they will also help in other parts of New Zealand – and on other modes of transport such as buses – over time,’ Mr Bridges says.

The comments about double deckers are interesting and hopefully suggests some of the thinking going on behind the scenes will be to allow all door boarding to speed up dwell times.

As mentioned above it is estimated fare evasion on trains could be cost $2 million per year in lost revenue – although it’s likely better enforcement will just mean those trips don’t happen rather than the AT will collect $2 million more. The revenue aspect was something that Mayor Len Brown focused on.

And from this press release

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has welcomed the announcement by Transport Minister Simon Bridges, saying fare evaders are effectively cheating ratepayers, taxpayers and honest travellers and this is something he has been seeking for some time.

“An estimated six per cent of passengers evade fares and that has a negative effect on revenue and the provision of services. I suspect the $2m per annum figure is conservative – it could be much more.”

“Recorded public transport patronage has exceeded 80 million trips for the first time, with annual rail patronage up 22.7 per cent to 14.4 million. However actual patronage will be much higher and it’s crucial we have accurate figures so we can properly plan for future service and infrastructure requirements.”

The Mayor said fare evasion was often accompanied by anti-social behavior. “This initiative will help deal with those who don’t value community assets or respect the rights of fellow passengers.”

For their part Auckland Transport say they will be making it harder for people to evade fares which will include changes at some stations. Gating will go in at Otahuhu when it is built and AT say they are working on business cases to gate some additional stations but this isn’t a cheap solution so will not be across the entire network. They did say that stations not gated will see some changes to create more controlled access to platforms. This may include using fencing to reduce the number of entrances at some stations and possibly shifting infrastructure such as ticket machines. In addition they are looking at changing security procedures to make improve safety – or perceptions of safety. I understand this may involve more extensive police involvement including them using trains.

Here are Lester Levy’s comments

 

While the fare evasion announcement is a welcome step, I think it actually a sign something even more important and was hinted at in the speeches. In Simon Bridges we now appear to have a Transport Minister who willing to work with Auckland (and other cities) to improve public transport and this includes fixing the small stuff. Another recent example was the change to vehicle regulations which made it easier to get double deckers on our roads and as a result three bus companies are purchasing 53 of them. It’s worth noting that many of the people I’ve spoken to have commented on how good Bridges has been to work with. Will he be the Transport Minister that gets the CRL over the line? The same people have also said that Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye has also doing a lot of work behind the scenes to help get improvements over the line. Perhaps in Bridges and Kaye we’re starting to see the younger more urban literate side of the National Party emerge and that can only be a good thing for our cities.

70 comments to Addressing Fare Evasion

  • The commonest sort of fare evasion I see on the trains is (very) young kids jumping on, obviously having no ticket. When an inspector comes along, they say they have no ticket and are put off the train. I can’t imagine them giving an inspector a right name or address – some are so young they are hardly likely to know an address.

    What is more troublesome in such cases – for it is not a matter of lost income; they weren’t going to buy tickets! – is all these 7-10-year-old kids running around without supervision, probably with parents not knowing, or possibly not caring.

    I have seen only, I think, one case of fare evasion that would have been by someone who might have bought a ticket. I think this is a welcome innovation if it goes through. The greater formality of the approach of the monitors will probably make some evaders a little more cautious.

    jj

    • Stu Donovan

      All good steps but I wouldn’t fret too much about fare evasion. 6% sounds like a lot, but it’s just rail – and fare evasion is significantly lower on bus because everyone has to file past driver, which increases compliance.

      Important to remember that some level of fare evasion is not worth chasing as it simply costs more money than it saves. This is especially relevant to children, which have very low average fares, e.g. close to $1. This is because 1) they receive a 50% discount anyway and 2) they typically travel short distances. This really means that meaningful reductions in fare evasion (in terms of revenue saved) really comes by targeting the adult/tertiary travellers who travel long distances. And that’s best stopped through a combination of 1) gating busy stations and 2) stricter enforcement.

      Of course system that is experiencing rapid growth, such as Auckland, the “pay-offs” from measures designed to reduce fare evasion (which tend to have fixed costs) will tend to increase over time. That means that as the system grows, then you can expect an increasing number of rail stations to be gated.

      More generally this highlights one of the virtuous cycles of patronage growth: PT experiences fixed costs, and by extension economies of density/scale, such that in a well-managed system the average cost per passenger will reduce over time. Put another way, if we grow the system in an efficient way, then we can afford more fancy stuff.

      • Yes no point spending $50m to face $2m in fare evasion. AT seem to have the right general approach, gate the stations where they’ll get the most impact and inspectors to deal with the rest

        • Jon Reeves

          Or you could look at another way, the investment in gates not only saves on fare evaders but also the unmentioned fare over-riders and the constant damage caused by the unrespectful fare evaders. When the $2 million figure is bandied about, that is not a scientific number, it is a guess. How much are we also losing through over riders? What are graffiti and damage costs to all the sparkling new EMUs over, say a 10 year period? Add that up, then compare to the install costs of the gates at stations.

          Finally, what are the costs of the anti social brigade on the rail network to innocent passengers? It may not be a monetary figure, but could be damaging to the overall image of public transport.

          NZTA could fund the gates. And if the argument against the $28 – $50 million is that it is not a wise investment. Just say “Puhoi-Warkworth motorway”.

          • A guess but an accurate enough one. It is based on counting how many are caught fare evading from their trips vs how many have a valid ticket and extrapolated out. I’m aware they have details by stations and some are much worsethan others i.e. I understand Manurewa and Henderson are both quite bad.

            As for anti-social behaviour, having a ticket doesn’t prevent it and as such AT have some other plans to help address that too. I learnt more about those in discussions with officials after the announcement but I’ll leave that up to AT to announce.

      • Steve C

        one of the downsides of all door loading of the NEX is that it gives people the idea that getting on at the back door is OK and the driver has no indication of whether they have tagged on or not

        • Also the NEX drivers don’t often pay attention so people could just walk on without tagging on. Also I have seen people tagging off and then not getting off. Eg 501 to Botany tagging on at Britomart, tagging off at Newmarket then staying on until Botany.

  • It is increasingly clear that technological and demographic changes mean that cities are the vital economic form this century and that their success relies on how fit for purpose their infrastructure is. Modern fiscally conservative political parties are abandoning their transport mode bias all over the world, even in the anglo-phone places [long a holdout]. Most recently the change in Australia is showing the way:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/malcolm-turnbull-sends-gang-of-three-to-unclog-cities/story-fn59niix-1227542862627?sv=9d68d99a6c06e535533c7f2c184e8e8e

    In Bridges and Kaye it looks like we are seeing that here too. Am optimistic.

  • Rob A.

    With the Greens smooching upto National last week over faux facebook demand for the peak flag and the sweet moves by Bridges and Kaye yesterday over fare evasion it looks like a Green/National Govt for 2017. That means a vote for Greens is a vote for National. Scary.

    • Stu Donovan

      yeah nah. Far too complex to conclude what each individual party’s next best response might look like once the votes were tallied. What if NZF score 10%? Then it may be a NZF National government. At which point, with the benefit of hindsight, you could say that a vote for Winston was a vote for National. And vice versa. And think of what happened with the last Labour government: Instead of going with the greens, they opted for NZF and United Future. Which by your logic would mean that a vote for Labour was a vote for Winston and Peter Dunne!

      A vote for the Greens is a vote for the Greens, likewise for all the other parties. Follow the “keep it simple stupid” principle and you can’t go too wrong. Unless you live in Epsom of course, where things get very interesting indeed …

      • harrymc

        “Unless you live in Epsom of course, where things get very interesting indeed …”
        “Interesting” is one way of describing it. Subverting the democratic process would be another.

    • So what does yesterday’s announcement have to do with the Greens then? Bridges and Kaye are both National MPs.

  • Nick R

    I would agree that most current fare evasion isn’t people who would otherwise pay, it’s people who would otherwise not travel.

    A few of those will be folks who are real hard up, and I hope we have mechanisms in place to help them out. However most appear to be young kids and (at a risk of sounding like a curmudgeon) hoodie wearing troublemakers in their teens. Also at the risk of being prejudiced, it seems these hoodies are the same ones that tag stations, scratch windows and intimidate other passengers. Maybe the benefit of real fare inforcement isn’t revenue, it’s security.

    Having said that, I think this is a very important step so as to avoid fare evasion becoming normalised. In Melbourne there appears to be a cultural acceptance that you don’t have to pay for trams, and I wouldn’t be surprised if fare evasion is something like 50%. There you clearly see regular users like workers and students not tagging on at all. We do need to avoid that happening here.

    • Hein

      Aren’t trams free in Melbourne? I thought I read that somewhere on this blog

      • Free in the heart of the city: incentivising short intra-city city trips by tram.

        • Tram ticket controllers in melb are scary. You don’t want to mess with them. In Auckland you could just ignore the controllers or just walk away. There is no fear or anything.

          • David B

            I found it an interesting thing riding the trams in Melbourne. Coming up to some stations there would be a lot of chatter, everyone would get off and I’d be pretty much the only person left aboard. Then I’d see a group of ticket inspectors boarding to check everyone (and with those Myki cards I had no idea how legit I was I must admit) but I thought that it was quite funny and couldn’t see how the system could make any money.

      • aucklanderinaus

        Only free in the CBD and Docklands (Melbourne’s equivalent to Wynyard Quarter), and that’s only been the case since 1rst January 2015. I think since this change has occured, fare evasion is much lower than what it was, and certainly lower than 50%. As the Authorised Officers no longer have to worry about patrolling the CBD, they are now far more concentrated on the immediate area around the CBD and the suburbs so you’re far more likely to get caught now if travelling outside the CBD/Docklands area.

    • Neil

      If we do not solve the safety issue quickly, a certain group will be too scared to use trains; the same group who insist on driving their children to school. While bean counters will say it is not worth enforcing children to pay, these children soon become teenagers and will have grown up with the idea that only fools pay for a train ride.

      • luke

        Ive caught a few trains in melbourne and they always seem to be riddled with graffiti. Scratched windows, tagging, smell of urine etc.

        Just my opinion of course but seems far worse there for some reason.

        • Dave B (Wellington)

          Last time I was in Sydney, I had trouble finding any train windows that WEREN’T scratched. The problem there was on a massive scale and it seemed like the authorities had all but given up. I felt thankful that this particular epidemic had not infected NZ.
          Hopefully Sydney has got it sorted now, and if so, I would like to know how they managed it.

          • Nik

            In Sydney I think it depends on the model of train you end up on. The latest model have cameras throughout and guards spend time watching them. Most of the damage I’m seeing is tagging of the trains at stabling facilities, which leads to fading on the doors, which have a form of coating applied.

            In general I have my ticket inspected 2-3 times a week by inspectors, but always in different segments of my journey. The number of people I observe without tickets is pretty small and it’s a $200 fine.

          • aucklanderinaus

            I was in Sydney a few months ago. Most of the old ‘silver rattlers’ have been taking out of service, and replaced with the new A sets which are a dramatic improvement on the last ones. From my casual observations, these still appear to be in very good condition and had virtually no graffiti/vandalism. Some of them have been in service for a number of years. The security on board is clearly acting as a good deterrent. Most of the older Tangaras which are still in service have been refurbished also.
            When I was in Sydney 5-10 years ago, some of the trains were in an abominable condition not even fit for animals. I think the NSW government has worked to clean the system up quite drastically, and that is showing.

        • aucklanderinaus

          Yes, some of the trains in Melbourne are in a disgusting state, although I think saying they all smell of urine is not true (unless you were unlucky enough to actually travel on ones that were). Metro have just started a new program of cleaning up all the newer X’trapolis trains, and taking them out of service the moment new graffiti is noticed to repair it. As my line only uses X’traps, I’ve noticed a dramatic improvement in the cleanliness of the trains. This probably won’t be the case for other lines though, however.

    • xkr

      The hoodied scumbags with nothing better to do than ride the trains and hang out on platforms are one kind of fare evader, the most obvious kind. The other kinds are the nicely dressed, respectable looking workers who travel to and from the city daily, but only pay when forced to or who only tag on when they get to an inner station like Grafton, Remuera or Orakei. With a $20 penalty fare, you only need to get away with cheating for a few days to make it pay off. These new penalties will do wonders for getting the full and proper fares out of these very numerous and stealthier cheats, because getting to work in the city is something they have to do one way or another, unlike the obvious scumbags who may choose to tag elsewhere – also a major cost saving.

  • RB

    Really odd this became such an issue in NZ. In my younger years we always had to produce a ticket as the conductor went through buses and trains in many countries. Good to see it is getting sorted though.

    • BBC

      I don’t think it has become an ‘issue’ per se, but simply addressing a lack of legislation to allow enforcement of fare evasion. As it stands pretty well the only penalty for not having a ticket is being asked to get off the train, whereby said passenger just waits for the next one.

      Taking Switzerland or Germany as examples of countries that rely solely on random checks for the train, tram and bus systems, the inspectors there have the right to request details and these are recorded, with the fine increasing each time you are caught without a ticket. Effective and simple, and means they see no need with expensive gating or making it more difficult to enter stations (the opposite of what should be happening) which unfortunately is the route NZ is going down. Personally I’d like NZ to take more note of their systems rather than taking countries like the UK as a model.

      • Dave B (Wellington)

        Agreed. Other English-speaking countries are hardly shining examples from which to garner good ideas about public transport. The Anglophone world lost the plot in this regard 50 years ago when it tore out its tram systems and dismantled many of its railways. Credibility was driven out by stupidity and little has changed since.

        Now if you want good examples, look to Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Scandinavia, etc

        • BSD

          Ok, I was in Stockholm a few months ago, the level of fare evasion on the trains (I am talking about the metro system here) there is shocking. The stations are gated but the gates swing out and down when they open and won’t close again until the space is clear. This leads to one of two things either
          1. One person in group buys a ticket and then holds their arm across the gate to keep it open or
          2. You wait at the exit gate for someone to leave and then walk right through.

          I saw this happen every time I caught the train 4 or 5 people going through the gates with no tickets and the locals didn’t even react like it was normal for them. By the way I paid, a 3 day unlimited pass was the same cost as about 5 single tickets so it was a no brainer.

  • Alex

    Current system of letting fare evaders get away with it by just kicking them out of the trains is obviously not working since they can just catch the next train.
    Actual ticket issuing or prosecution along with warning posters/signs with police presence should deter wanna-be fare evaders.
    Fare evaders should feel unwanted and that they should feel that when they get caught, they will be punish (rather than just laugh it off).

    Note: These fare evaders are mostly likely also causing all the ugly vandalism in the network. So getting them out will likely save tax payers money.

  • Jean

    Fare evasion on buses is very very common and in a number of guises. Without giving too much away – people using cards configured for someone else is common. ie the fare they get is significantly less than what it should be for their status; paying for 1 stage cash and travelling further; misreading message on HOP card validator; pretending to tag on, but leaving bus without tagging off etc etc. Several of these methods can also be used on trains/ferries. Most of these evasions would only become apparent on physically checking ticket or card and so ticket inspectors would be necessary.
    As for kids not having money to travel – didn’t we all do that at some time when young. It is a rite of passage to try and cheat on public transport and most kids know bus drivers are not allowed to leave a child stranded.

    • David B

      I’d be happy if kids weren’t charged for travel while they are still school age – many of them genuinely have little or no money and you can’t top up HOP cards on the bus any more for some reason. Better to not charge them at all rather than generating a culture of fare evasion like in Melbourne.

  • Chris Randal

    Lester’s comments appear to be missing from the article.

  • Katherine

    Pretty sick of the selective enforcement that is currently happening. They often have 10 or so ticket inspectors on the platform in Henderson. They have no problem with me not tagging on where they can see me (e.g. tagged on after using the lift, while they’re only watching the other tag on points), but harass groups of brown teens. Sometimes they even have the police there! Shouldn’t the police be catching people who are actually causing harm, like dangerous drivers?

    • Raphael

      I hate to agree with your comment Katherine, but from my own experiences I have to verify what you’ve explained. As soon as a ticket inspector walks into the carriage I’m in i can see they instantly look to me, being Maori and definitely more tan than many others, and act slightly more abrasive towards me. Even in their “random” checks 10/10 times I’m asked. Meanwhile others sitting near me who are less dark than myself are not. But that Maori woman inspector who is often on the western line is very nice. I think when people talk about fare evaders they usually picture a brown boy in their mind. An issue of economics, or racism?

    • Bruce

      Majority of problem makers are young men (15-25) so of course that is who they target.

      • Katherine

        They should be checking EVERYONE. No need to selectively enforce when there are 10 ticket inspectors on a 3-car off-peak train (i.e. anytime I see them).

        • JeffT

          My experience is they check everyone’s ticket. Just depends when you got on for when you’re checked. They’re checking my little white bum (ticket) before I’ve sat down everytime.

          • Katherine

            Sorry, I should have been more clear. They are more consistent when on trains, but when they are checking whether people are tagging on at non-gated stations, they’ve frequently ignored me. Or when the train manager takes it upon themselves to challenge people getting on the train, they are definitely targeting specific demographics.

  • JimboJones

    I hope AT now consider big double doors on the side of buses for both entry and exit instead of the current setup where everyone has to move single file past the driver.
    I’m not sure anyone has ever answered this question for me – why double deckers instead of bendies? I thought the bendies in London worked great, much more train like. And they don’t need changes to buildings etc to operate.

  • Dave B (Wellington)

    My preference – A heavily-subsidised, low-far regime for everyone, such that fare-dodging is hardly worth the effort and properly-funded public transport is seen as a social good, just like the pipes, roads and footpaths. Imagine if every flush, stroll and drive were charged for, with a target recovery-ratio of 50%.

    Los Angeles, often held up as an example of how-not-to-do-public-transport, has a citywide flat-fare structure of $1.75/ride (adult) ($1.00 chuild/student), using stored-value cards which can be purchased for only $1.00 at a wide range of outlets. Fares as low as 70c are available using daily/weekly/monthly passes. By this means, LA has managed to wrest back a degree of public-transport usage-culture from near extinction.

    On the other hand, LA also seems to spend $$millions chasing 70c fare-evaders http://www.laweekly.com/news/metro-fare-jumpers-explain-why-and-how-they-evade-tickets-in-la-video-5128290

  • JeffT

    Good the inspectors are being given more legal teeth. I’m sorry, is that the first time Simon’s been on one of these trains? I personally hate the number of ticket inspectors, they pounce before I’ve hardly sat down. More gates, fewer people.

    Noticed last week growing incidence of scratching/vandalism on backs of the seats of our nice new trains. Here’s where I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more train personnel involvement. Whether these are the evaders or others, get these thugs off our trains to stop wrecking the property we all pay for.

  • Scott

    How is this going to work? requiring people to disclose ther name and address is usefull, but dont the offercers also need the power to arrest / detane fair evadors? otherwise there is nothing he officer can do if the evador refues the infomation and walks away.

    • Neil

      This is an important point. Without ID cards, offenders can give any name and address. Will the inspectors be allowed to photograph offenders for enforcement purposes?

      • xkr

        Ticket Inspectors already wear body mounted cameras, the trains have HD cameras inside and out and so do some of the platforms. The authorities already use these media to track down repeat offenders and if the fines are high enough to make it worth the while, I think we can expect a more thorough pursuit of troublemakers. That’s where the $1000 fine for failing to comply with a rail enforcement officer (or whatever it is) comes in.

    • aucklanderinaus

      I was wondering the same. Surely without the power to detain, anyone can just give them any details and they just have to take their word for it. In other countries, if the person is not carrying ID with them, then they must wait for the officer to call in their details and verify them before they’re given the ticket and let go.

      • Darius

        How would you verfy? They could just give the name and address of their classmate they hate?

      • The thing is, ticket officers would need more than just a legal power to detain someone. Actually physically detaining someone is a difficult, dangerous job. The police do it, and are paid and trained for that kind of work, have lots and lots of backup on immediate call, plus are relatively fit, and carry pepper spray, batons, and tasers. And more importantly, have the ability to often pull their punches – to non-violently de-escalate a conflict.

        The police also, by nature of what they do, tend to garner slightly more respect than some hi-viz-wearing ticket inspector. Even the “Fuck The Police” attitude at least shows an appreciation of their capability.

        Letting ticket inspectors do that kind of work would involve a level of training, pay and equipment we associate with sworn police officers. In which case, they might as well just be in the police, as a specialised branch. And that seems wild overkill for a very, very minor crime of theft whose damage is estimated at about $2 million / year. We don’t have special shoplifting police hanging around permanently in malls and high streets, and that would involve orders of magnitude more loss.

        • Bruce

          Conservatively estimated at $2 million. Then there is the issue of damage caused (both graffiti and more permanent damage), and the loss of revenue from people afraid of using PT due to anti-social behaviour (which is mostly caused by those that aren’t paying).

    • aucklanderinaus

      Are these ticket inspectors/enforcement officers/authorised officers (or whatever they’re going be called) to be employed by Auckland Transport or employees of TransDev like at present? In a NZ context, it would be highly unusual for employees of a private company to be given powers to issue fines and enforcements (I could be wrong on this, but can’t think of other examples). That would be going down the same path a la Melbourne, in having Authorised Officers which are given powers by the State of Victoria, but still employed by Metro/Yarra Trams (private companies).
      Also, aside from fare evasion, will they be able to issue out other fines for other offences? ie. feet on seats, swearing, littering, smoking on trains etc

      • > In a NZ context, it would be highly unusual for employees of a private company to be given powers to issue fines and enforcements (I could be wrong on this, but can’t think of other examples).

        I can think of at least one other example – Wellington City Council, which has contracted a private company to provide parking enforcement (that is, parking wardens).

        It’s bizarre, though, for core functions of the state like law enforcement to be privatised. It is, of course, just a way of getting cheaper non-union-protected labour.

  • Jon Reeves

    I am pleased with this long over due move. Of course, it will require people with the strength to enforce the laws. Specific rail or public transport police would be good. At least then they would not be sidelined to non-public transport duties.

    Until the laws are passed we will (sadly) witness more graffiti on our brand new EMU’s.

    • Doubt we’d have specific PT police seeing as NZ only has a single police force rather than separating out the duties (at least as far as the public see). Quite likely we will see more police on trains in the future though

      • At the moment, although we had separate transport police prior to 1992.

        The Highway Patrol has also been operationally separate since 2001. Although every individual officer is sworn to do any police duty, on a day-to-day basis everyone is assigned to either highway or general duties, or even a special unit like marine, or the DPS. The CIB is also quite operationally separate – there’s a whole complex procedure to be promoted to detective, and once a detective, you can’t be reassigned to general duties.

        They’re not a completely separate police organisation, as in the United States where you might be in the FBI or a state or city police department. But there are very much organisational and geographic branches in the NZ Police, and officers can’t be reassigned against their will from one to another. This is how I’d assume a hypothetical public transport police would work, even if I think it’s an unnecessary idea, it’s certainly entirely within our traditions and expectations.

  • I’m all for this, but I hope to avoid the dehumanising experience that the Berlin transit police present (look it up). Never in my life have I faced such illogical and autocratic people.

  • Really need to sort out the issues with HOP first too, Wife keeps getting checked and gets told shes not tagged on when she actually is, then goes to tag on in front of the inspector and gets “tag off OK” which confirms she was tagged on… I have had simular issues. Hopefully all these issues are sorted out before enforcement is brought to this level, as it will put many people off PT if they get mucked around despite paying. Though many of these issues have gone unresolved since the rollout of HOP, so don’t have much faith in them.

    • Completely agree that this is likely to put people off using trains. (1) It’s going to be unpleasant to have scary, almost militaristic people wandering the trains intimidating passengers and making them feel guilty. (2) When you turn up to a station you can’t be sure that the ticket machines will actually be working, and you cannot purchase tickets on board anymore, and if you board anyway you could get hit with a massive fine. No thanks, I won’t even bother risking turning up. (3) Can you be sure that they won’t hit you with the fine for the Hop problems. A friend has had a penalty applied to his hop card because the tagging failed and AT assume bad faith. There need to be efforts to assure casual or first time users that they don’t need to worry as opposed to scaring them with talk of massive fines.

      • Yeah and it doesn’t help when half of the ticket inspectors do NOT understand the technicalities of the AT Hop system, they just seem instantly dismissive of any excuse valid or not.

  • Dave B (Wellington)

    The beauty of Los Angeles’ $1.75 citywide flat-fare system is that NO TAGGING OFF IS NEEDED!!

    Customer-friendly in the extreme.

    Tag-on-Tag-off Systems like Auckland’s HOP and Wellington’s Snapper come across as immature, unprofessional and mean-spirited by comparison.

  • yetiballer

    Without reading all of the comments about. Surely it is cheaper to just have clippies? Save of enforcement, infrastructure and anti-tagging measures?

    • Only if you don’t have many people riding the trains. If a train is packed with standees, a clippie isn’t even able to get down the aisle, let alone have time to sell everyone who gets on tickets before the next station.

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