PTV Proud owners of a new Poor Tax Penalty Fare System.

The problem with being poor is that the system really likes to ensure you stay that way.

Public Transport Victoria’s new on the spot fines trial is just an extension of this. Always have a spare $75 on your Visa Card, easy no problem. Struggle to make ends meet on the dole or on Ausstudy well, tough luck that will be $217 thank you very much.

The new 12 month trial of “penalty fares” is nothing but a poverty tax. Spin it anyway you like, but those able to pay the $75 fine are $142 better off.

Funny how the only things the penalty fare applies for are:

where the passenger:
• travels without a valid ticket or fails to produce a valid ticket on request.
• travels on a concession ticket without evidence of concession eligibility or fails to produce this on request.

Yes because most people on a concession ticket always have at least a spare $75 dollars floating around in their bank account that is why they are on a concession fare.

To ensure the system is not open to corruption they say the only payment option is via EFTPOS or Credit card, not cash. So wait a minute, the Authorised Officers have a mobile payment system, one that can take a massive chunk of money and yet they can’t allow someone to top up a fair because the Myki Topup machine was broken, doesn’t exist on the trams at all, or say you had paid online, but tough that takes up to 24 hours to get through to your card.

The whole Myki system is designed to be punitive (and a giant waste of money, check out to see what the cost of Myki could have purchased). Many overseas countries have machines inside the big destination stations allowing you to top up before you touch off for example. Here is Australia you are all guilty, and must be fined.

I have on a number of occasions had enough money to top up my fair, noticed my Myki was low and found the machine at my non staffed station vandalised so I couldn’t top up. My choice is never to pay before exit, it is exit and hope I get away with it, or pay a fine.

Of course the system is not open to abuse, because the Penalty Fares are at the discretion of the Authorised Officers. So what is to stop one of them saying, “hey slip me a $20 and I’ll give you the $75 fine, instead of the $217 version”.

In the end the reality is that it now just means the fines are smaller for the rich and larger for the poor.

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