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Article: Tram passengers winning ticket challenges
« on: April 07, 2008, 03:53:45 AM »
From Melbourne Age click here!

Tram passengers winning ticket challenges

Tram passengers winning ticket challenges

Clay Lucas
April 5, 2008

Please select a ticket, but hope that it works.

AGGRIEVED passengers are emerging winners in challenges to fines handed out by Yarra Trams ticket inspectors.

The company withdrew almost a third of 10,609 fines contested by passengers in the year to February.

The Public Transport Users Association said yesterday many people never challenged fines because they felt they had little hope of winning.

"Who knows how many people never bothered to write in and contest a fine because they didn't think it was worth it," association president Daniel Bowen said.

When tram passengers are given an infringement notice by an inspector, it is ultimately passed to the Department of Infrastructure, which decides whether a fine will be imposed.

"The percentage of infringement notices contested by letter has fallen in recent years," a department spokesman said.

"The overwhelming majority of public transport patrons do the right thing and pay the appropriate fare for their journey."

Of 65,587 tickets issued to tram travellers in the year to February, 10,609 were con- tested, with 3382 ultimately withdrawn, most with a warning issued.

Only 213 travellers got off without even a warning notice.

Of all those fined on trams last year for not having a valid ticket, only 346 people went to court to fight.

The department would not say how many people who contested fines in court were successful, but sources in the department said that last year not one court challenge to a ticket had been successful.

Across the entire transport network, 162,733 fines were issued for ticket and behavioural offences in the year to February.

This was a substantial increase on recent years. In 2005, around 125,000 fines were issued for fare evasion.

"We know that fare evasion continues to be a major problem, so I'm not surprised there are so many fines across a year," Mr Bowen said.

Metlink head Bernie Carolan said the thousands of warnings sent out to those passengers that had challenged tickets did not mean that ticket inspectors had made a mistake.

"We hope that the recipients of such warnings still learn from the experience," Mr Carolan said.
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