Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dodgy machine? Not our problem, shrugs Metlink

Clay Lucas
November 4, 2009 - 12:02AM

IF YOUR tram's ticket validators are broken, the directive from the Government's transport marketing agency is simple: buy a new ticket, or get off.

That's what Muru Gappan was told when ticket inspectors handed him a $172 fine in September.

Mr Gappan, an IT worker, boarded a tram in Glen Huntly and tried to use his multi-trip ticket. After trying two validators, he gave up.

Soon after, ticket inspectors boarded and demanded to see his ticket. Mr Gappan explained that the machines had failed.

Asked why he had not then bought a ticket on board, Mr Gappan said his ticket should have worked, and that his only cash was notes [tram ticket machines take only coins].

The inspectors, who Mr Gappan said told him he should have asked other passengers for change, took his ticket. He hasn't got it back, but he does have a $172 infringement notice. He has until next Friday to pay, but says he won't.

''The public transport system in Melbourne puts the blame entirely on the passenger, who is deemed guilty until proven innocent,'' Mr Gappan said.

He has written to Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky, her department and transport marketing agency Metlink.

A Metlink officer told him he should have taken ''all reasonable steps'' to ensure he had a valid ticket. This meant buying a new ticket or getting off.

''A customer may decide to purchase a Metcard from the automated ticketing machine on board the tram, or if that option is not viable the customer should exit the tram,'' the officer said in an email.

Metlink head Bernie Carolan said the response to Mr Gappan would be reviewed. ''If a person attempts to validate their ticket, and there is evidence of faulty equipment or the like, I would normally suggest they should be entitled to continue their journey,'' he said.

Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen pointed to a 2006 Metlink campaign titled ''BATBYGOBSTOPL'' - an acronym for ''Buying A Ticket Before You Get On Board Saves Time Or Problems Later''.

''This case shows it simply isn't true,'' he said.

This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/national/dodgy-machine-not-our-problem-shrugs-metlink-20091103-hva6.html

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