Article by Loreena Walsh
Thinking of evading paying the fare on Melbourne public transport? Well, think again; with increased inspector numbers, the risk of being caught is greater than ever, and people who try to skip payment could face having to pay a $75 on the spot fine from August 2014. The new fine system is running on a 12 month trial and only runs in the metropolitan Melbourne area, but if you don’t understand the changes, it could be costly if you’re caught doing the wrong thing.
What are the new Melbourne Public Transport fines?
There are two ways to get issued with a new on the spot fine on Melbourne transport:
- Attempting to travel without a valid ticket, or not being able to produce your ticket
- Attempting to travel using a concession ticket and not having proof of eligibility available
In these two situations commuters will be offered the chance to pay a $75 on the spot fine. The new system means that inspectors won’t need your name or address making the fine an anonymous one unlike the old system where I.D. would be checked and fines sent in the mail. The $75 is much like a premium ticket price for those who choose not to do the right thing.
After paying the $75 charge, an On-The-Spot Penalty Ticket will be issued that will be current for the current transport, but not for any further travel.
One thing to be aware of is the fact that on the spot fines cannot be contested. As personal information is not collected, appeals and refunds cannot be made.
What is the Alternative?
Of course, paying the correct fare at the time of boarding is always the best option, but for some people paying an on the spot fine isn’t an option, or they would like a chance to contest the fine and provide reasons for their actions. If this is the case, then commuters can provide their name and address to be issued a fine by mail.
No person will be forced to pay an on the spot fine, but there’s a catch. When a fine is mailed, the fee is increased to $217.
Mail-only fines are the only option for those passengers who are found to be committing behavioural or multiple offences, those committing serious offences such as using fraudulent tickets, or those under 18.
Changes to Two Hour Tickets
Don’t get caught out by the new changes to 2 hour tickets. Where tickets used to last to the end of the hour regardless of what time the ticket began, changes now mean that 2 hour tickets last exactly 2 hours and no longer. One exception to this is that after 6pm, a 2 hour ticket is valid for the rest of the night. So keep this in mind and keep track of your ticket validity.
The key to travelling without penalty on Melbourne transport is to be sure you have a valid Myki card, keeping it topped up and using it each time you travel. Doing the right thing will save you money in the long term.