On-the-spot penalty fares cancelled following changes to myki enforcement

CHANGES to myki enforcement will see the cancellation of the controversial on-the-spot fines and other improvements by 2017. Yulia Sotnikova has the story. 

On-the-spot penalty fares for public transport users caught without a valid myki will be abolished  next year.

Moving forward, Public Transport Victoria will be introducing a new system that hopes to help better target regular offenders and show leniency towards those who may have made an honest mistake or became victims as a result of a non-working myki machine.

A review of the controversial and criticised myki penalty system, conducted by the Victorian Government, discovered PTV users often felt pressured to pay on the spot, even if free-loading wasn’t their intention. Under the new penalty system, inspectors will instead be issuing official warning letters to the offenders before handing out a full $223 fine.

From January 1, 2017, authorised PTV officers will now be given smart phones and iPads to assess full travel history of passengers. If the system shows the user has been touching on regularly, they will be able to walk away with nothing but a warning.

Other planned improvements include reducing the time for online top-ups from 24 hours to 90 minutes, louder beeps and anti-glare screens on myki machines, and faster myki readers on trams and buses.

Lolita Shestakova, an overseas student from Russia, said she thinks the changes will be more fair on commuters.

“Lots of people now actually choose to pay those on-the-spot fines and not buy a ticket because it works out cheaper,” Shestakova said.

Carmen Chan, a student from RMIT, felt changes to the system were “favourable” for commuters and that having “one more chance [before being penalised]” would benefit those like her who have felt unfairly fined.

Another RMIT student, Cher Cheng, was doubtful however. Though she holds an international student travel pass, she feels “more people may try to evade the fare” because of these new warnings.

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