Fairer Fines campaign up date
On the 26th May the Andrew's Labor Government announced they intend to scrap the $75 penalty fares (from January 1 2016) and introduce more discretion for Authorised officers and department officers reviewing fines. They will also introduce a warning system for people who have a good Myki history and no fines in the past 3 years.
The changes coincided with a scathing report from the Victorian Ombudsman which said the penalty fare was unfair and was disadvantaging the homeless, tourists, young people, people with a disability and with limited English.
Earlier this year over 500 PTNT supporters to help buy completing a survey, which informed the recommendations to a Government review. The report also gained a lot of media coverage, including our recommendation for a warning system.
From what people told us in the survey, they are trying to comply with the system but because of the failings of Myki they are being caught short. For example not being able to buy a card or top up on trams, Myki equipment failure and not realising they hadn't touched on. Another big issue was people not intentionally doing the wrong thing such as, 22% were fined because they had forgotten proof of concessions card, or others told us they were fined because they left behind a Myki with credit or a monthly/annual pass etc. on it. So clearly people are trying to do the right thing.
Passengers reported feeling pressured to pay on the spot fines, and being made to feel “guilty until proven innocent” when contesting the fines. Those who took the time and effort to challenge the fine generally found it was withdrawn at the last minute, or that the courts rejected the fine or reduced it to a warning.
The move to scrap the $75 penalty fares (from January 1st 2017) and better protocols for giving people warnings is a substantial step on bringing some fairness back to the system and we welcome this step. But will continue to watch closely to make sure the changes deliver the fairness intended by these changes.
Many of the recommendations adopted in this report echo those made by the PTNT in our joint submission with the PTUA Recommendations included:
- Introducing a warning system for people with good Myki records;
- Better discretion for dealing with accidental fare evasion;
- Better advice to people about how to gain evidence such as CCTV or faulty Myki technology to support their case;
- Improved procedures for assessing people in hardship; and
- Improved training and discretion for Authorised Officers.
We also understand that the recommendations relating to concession cards are still to be considered as part of a review of concession fares to be announced later this year.
We need to now turn our attention to making sure the new contracts being negotiated for the Myki system are identifying the major problems in the system and giving the operators targets for these being resolved. We need a ticketing system that makes it easier to pay your way and harder to fare evade.
What to do if you are fined?
We understand work will be done to review processes now in terms of reviewing peoples extenuating circumstances when receiving a fine and more information will be given to people from Authorised Officers when they are found to be without a valid ticket.
However head over to the Public Transport Users Association webpage for some helpful advice about contesting your fine.
In the mean time just in case you ever get stopped by an Authorised Officer and find your card or a Myki machine didn't work, you may want to read this article for some helpful advice from Julian Burnside.
Or the Myki fines website which gives people a simple step by step guide.