System streamlined

Victorian commuters who evade fares will now be held accountable under a single system

The Victoria Government has announced wide-ranging reforms to make the fare enforcement system more simple, fair and effective.

The changes will abolish on-the-spot penalty fares and create a single infringement system which makes it easier to do the right thing.

Last year the government announced a review of the enforcement regime it inherited from the former government, after wide ranging criticisms from passengers, justice groups and the Victorian Ombudsman.

The review found the enforcement system unfairly punishes those who do the right thing, while rewarding those who deliberately fare evade.

The $75 penalty fare means a passenger can get caught fare evading more than 20 times in one year, and still pay less than the cost of a regular Zone 1 & 2 yearly pass.

Penalty fares are also anonymous, so there is no record kept of serial offenders, meaning the worst fare evaders cannot be identified and targeted.

 "The system we inherited from the former Liberal Government is confusing, unfair and inequitable. It penalises and intimidates the most vulnerable, while providing an incentive to others to travel without a ticket," says Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan

"We know only a very small percentage of people deliberately fare evade – most passengers want to do the right thing and we're making it easier to do that.

"We're making sure the Victoria system is simple, fair and effective for everyone with quicker top-ups, better training and resources for Authorised Officers, and a clearer process for passengers if they get a fine."

The review also found the current system is confusing for passengers, who are provided very little information about how the system works or their rights within it.

The new system outlined today provides a clear process for how and when fines can be issued, and how and when they can be challenged.

It will be supported by a range of measures to make it easier for passengers to travel with a valid ticket.

This includes reducing the time it takes to top up online from 24 hours to 90 minutes, trialling fast top-up devices on trams stops and major stations and reviewing concessions and concession IDs.

The enforcement system will begin on January 1 next year, to provide time for staff training, public education and legislative change to bring the changes into force.

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