Monday 28 July 2015
16:00 (for immediate release)
The Public Transport Users Association is calling for significant law changes to challenge fare evaders on the Auckland rail network.
Since the advent of the HOP card, Auckland Transport has not collected fares on-board Auckland rail services, which allows many passengers to avoid paying for their trip on the network. Jon Reeves, Co-ordinator of the PTUA, says “tomorrow the Minister of Transport will announce new measures to help fight fare evasion. We certainly hope this will be in the form of significant legislation which will allow Auckland Transport to fine and record details of those who choose not to buy a train ticket. At the end of the day, fare evaders unfairly place the rail service cost recovery on all the other innocent, law abiding train users”.
The PTUA would like to see the train operator given powers to demand instant fare payment, issue fines and record details of anyone caught without a valid ticket or HOP card which has not been tagged on.
Reeves said “our members tell us they constantly see passengers who have clearly not purchased a ticket or tagged on with their HOP card using rail services. It would also appear that a number of fare evaders are damaging the brand new electric trains, as the apparent “free rail services” are attractive to undesirables who vandalise the trains and intimidate passengers. Widespread vandalism and poor behaviour is not a good look when we are trying to encourage more commuters out of their cars and into trains”.
The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) could also come to the party with additional funding to allow more gated stations on the Auckland rail network, as only a handful are currently gated. Stations such as Papakura, Takanini, Homai, Puhinui, Middlemore, Sunnyvale, Avondale, Henderson and many others are allowing fare evaders and fare over-riders free access to the ratepayer and taxpayer funded rail network. Minister Bridges has the ability to offer funding to Auckland Transport via the NZTA, which would allow rapid implementation of gating. The capital/operating costs would most likely be recovered through more passengers actually paying for their train rides.
The PTUA hope that Minister Bridges will also announce a dedicated number of police officers to travel on trains at all times, as the security guards currently provided lack legal power to manage unruly passengers . Public Transport users need to feel safe at all times on trains, buses and ferries whether they travel at 11am or 11pm. Ideally we should follow other first world countries such as the United Kingdom, Switzerland and France which have dedicated Public Transport Police Units.
Jon Reeves, Coordinator: 027-529-0595
Email for public to contact us: email@example.com
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The Public Transport Users Association is a non-profit Incorporated Society representing current and future public transport users
The Hon. Simon Bridges, Minister of Transport will make an announcement Tuesday 29th September in the lower platform to Britomart Train Station at 11am.