Getting Away With It


Only Britomart and Newmarket will have ticket gates when integrated ticketing is introduced for trains at the end of the year.
These are the gates you see in other countries where you pass your card through in some way to let the gates open at the entry to the platform.
New Lynn has been designed for the gates and is an obvious choice and the new Manukau station is also designed for gates, for when it opens in February next year.
But no time frame has been put on those stations having them yet. Other stations could get them but it would cost about $500,000 a station and that adds up at a time when money is needed for many general station improvements.
It’s a pity more can not be added to stop fare evasion.
During a fare collection last November, nearly 3% of passengers had not paid.
In 2008 for one of the first surveys, an astonishing 10% had not paid so at least people are getting the message or train managers are more on top of things.
Auckland Transport’s Public transport operations manager, Mark Lambert, in a letter to the Auckland Transport Chair, reveals that the introduction of integrated ticketing removes the need for the on board train manager staff to collect fares and those staff are expected to be redeployed for “revenue protection” duties.
In other words spot checking.

We’ve all seen problems collecting fares in crowded trains or on trains with too few train managers. And people trying to avoid fare paying.
The worst I saw involved a youth crawling half under a seat with his mates managing to successfully conceal him (until other passengers complained).

Tickets for Northern Express are being collected at Downtown Centre

It’s good to see AT being proactive in other ways to curb lost revenue - as this is revenue that is desperately needed at a time of major but costly improvements being made to the Auckland rail network.
Wellington’s lost revenue has been so serious, authorities there have introduced on-platform ticketing.
That has been tried here recently as well at places like Kingsland.
The order of collection on services has changed. For example, Orakei/Newmarket fares are collected on departure from Britomart before collecting others. Several times travelling from Britomart to the first stop at Newmarket my ticket has not been clipped and I have had to approach a train staff manager on the Newmarket platform when I exit to get it clipped - but I could have got away with it.
AT is also:

  • Targeting those trains with many school students who are often the highest offender group.
  • 2 days a week ticket checks are being made on a couple of platforms at Britomart every morning between 630am and 9am.
  • The Ministry of Transport, Auckland Transport and NZTA are preparing some new legislation to be introduced in a year’s time - presumably tougher penalties.

We should have a zero-tolerance attitude to fare evaders. The rail system needs every cent it can get at a time when the Government is fleecing every cent it can.




  1. Chris Werry says:

    What is the penalty for fare evasion?

    I lived in Germany for a number of years where they have no gates. Instead, they have regular ticket inspection (I was checked at least once per month) and severe penalties. If you got caught you were taken off the train and straight to the police station by scary looking transport polizei. I think the fine was something like $500.

    On the other hand, Germans are much better at following rules than we are. And we’re not very good at enforcing rules - look at all the unpaid traffic fines.

  2. Matt says:

    Chris, there’s apparently draft legislation to increase the penalties. Right now all they can do is kick you off the vehicle and issue a trespass notice.
    I think on-the-spot fines of $250 and summary conviction fines of $1k would do wonders for discouraging fare cheating.

  3. Carl says:

    where do the pull these figures of $500K for each station?

    honestly if technology costs that much then it must be super bloody high tech.

    1. As long as you have the tag on tag off posts you are sweet.

    2. if you don’t tag off, you get charged a default fare next time you tag on.

    3. get some damn train guards on these services. In Perth if you fail to buy a ticket its $100 fine.

    if you don’t pay it within a month they take you to court. if you lose in court and still don’t pay they take your car licence. A lot of people though it was a stupid idea, but sure enough people paid the fines quick snap.

    they need to hammer it home that you must buy a ticket or get a fine, clearly sign posted and labeled. It also must be easy to buy a ticket in the first place.

    seems there is a lot to get through.

    but I’m sorry but $500k for some gates is absurd.

  4. Carl says:

    also this ticket clipping bs and the ten ticket things needs to go.

    you need to load up your cards when you can, and follow suit like other countries.

    ticket clipping, so 1930′s

    again the british media are going to have a field day when the arrive in 2 months time.

  5. Matt L says:

    Carl - 500k would be to buy and install the gates which aparantly are pretty high tech with quite a few sensors and other technology to detect people as well as things like prams and luggage (so the gate doesn’t close on your stuff). That would likely also include costs needed modify stations with things like fences etc.

    As an example my local station has 5 different entrances so it would be more than a case of just putting a gate in.

    Also the ticket clipping is going, the gates are part of the integrated ticketing process

  6. Pim says:

    If we have fines of 1000 dollars, we only need 1000 offenders and we have New Lynn and Manukau! Hopefully the money from the fines goes back to Auckland transport and not to the nzta.

  7. Geoff says:

    I don’t see why the introduction of HOP leads to a need for entry gates.

    Most train passengers already board trains with a prepaid ticket, and all the staff have to do is check the ticket.

    After integrated ticketing comes in, it just means that instead of checking most tickets and selling to those without a ticket, train staff will instead just check everyone.

    No “spot checks” - it will be everyone who gets checked, just as the case is now. Thus, no extra need for gates.

  8. Carl says:

    Matt L - you seem to think I know nothing, I know what a gate does, what it requires and how they work.

    what I want to see is what each one actually costs and who is ripping who off to install.

    then I want to see why someone in NZ can’t make them, because things like that can be made here. Its not heavy industry so there is no excuse.

    I’m but $500k per station just doesn’t seem right.

  9. Carl says:

    Pim - $1000 fines will never work.

    $100-$150 with further complications if you don’t pay them on time, work fine here in Australia.

    the people on the trains if they check through people quick enough will get through people easy and pick up the odd person easy.

  10. Matt says:

    Carl, those fines are pretty low. My suggestion was an automatic $250, with the option for summary prosecution and a fine of $1k - an option that would be levelled at repeat offenders.
    If the fine is not dramatically higher than ordinary fares, there’s no deterrent value. Given that public transport fares here are high anyway, the fines need to be a lot higher to have sufficient threat value

  11. Cam says:

    If they can find the funds they really need to put gates on New Lynn, Manukau and Henderson as well as Newmarket and Britomart.

  12. Bryan says:

    Carl, $500k for (at Ranui) 4 sets of gates and 300m+ of security fencing.

  13. Carl says:

    The aren’t low, its set at a rate so that people think they can leave it alone and keep doing it.

    what happens here is once you have been caught, your name is kept on a record so that next time it happens there is no warning its boom instant fine.

    plus if you also don’t pay it and you go to court you can lose your car licence.

    Other fines are hirer. Guards here have the same arrest rights as police, which in time is what I feel should happen here.

    The need to have set at a rate that will “cost” people but they also need to be a rate where people will pay them up front and not have to “pay it off”.

    Hardly anyone in Perth far evades, because almost every service has a train guard on it.

    they work in pairs (as should all service people).

    they are also take no sh*t, which some times is a bit heavy handed, but hay, its revenue protection.

    @ Bryan thanks for that, still sounds amazingly high.

    I’m going to contact Perth PT and find out what the damage is for there gates.

    in the main station they have 7 different exits and have over 20 gates.

  14. Penfold says:

    In Calgary the trains (LRT) work on an honour system with spot checks. I believe the fine is $120, this compares to a monthly pass of $90 or single ticket of $2.75. If you do get fined then the fine becomes a ticket for the rest of the day. This system seems to be pretty effective.
    The other thing in Calgary is the platforms are a fare paid area (ie you purchase or validate your ticket at a machine prior to entry to the platform), although I believe if you’re caught on the platform without a ticket they’ll normally just give you a warning.


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