Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

SkyTrain police catching more than fare evaders

with 2 comments

This is a Vancouver Sun story but somehow it found its way to Global. (The Aspers need to save money obviously.) My only reason for posting this is that I have covered the issue of fare evasion on this blog for some time. And, once again, the real figures are way below what so many claim.

Transit Police Chief Ward Clapham said only 3.6 per cent of people were caught riding SkyTrain without the proper fare in October, which means “fare-dodgers are not our biggest catch.” …

In the month of October, police checked more than 50,000 people and issued 1,000 tickets for fare evasion — 23 per cent below the monthly average so far this year. …

That translates to a 4.7 per cent fare evasion rate: higher than the system-wide fare evasion rate of 2.5 per cent estimated in the 2008 audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers, but considerably lower than the 5.4 per cent rate estimated for SkyTrain.

What this means of course for the cash strapped authority is that the $100m they have been strong armed into “investing” in fare gates will be wasted. The cost recovery – when you add in the additional operating costs – is pushed ever further out. And the idea that gates will make people “feel safer”is also hogwash. Becuase it is the police action that actually catches the real bad guys – “criminal code offences, as well as for breaching probation conditions and being in possession of narcotics, stolen property or weapons.” Though apart from the weapons none really seem to pose much of a threat to passengers. Once the gates are in place, the police will not be so active – because there will, it is claimed, be less need for fare evasion checks. Even though systems that have gates report similar fare evasion rates.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 20, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Posted in Fare evasion

2 Responses

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  1. I find it strange that TransLink wants to push ahead with fare gates, especially when European transit systems are trying to get away from them.

    I posted on the LRTA’s members blog a year ago about fare gates/turnstiles and the answers I got back indicated that there was a push by many transit authorities to get rid of them on their metro systems.

    New fare cards such as the Oyster or universal fare cards like the Environmental cards (used in many EU countries) have done away with the need for turnstiles.

    London’s Underground and Tube system has always had turnstile/fare-gates and Amsterdam installed fare gates because it was estimated that over 40% of customers were not paying! Amsterdam also put conductors back on trams to collect fares!

    It seems that the push to get SkyTrain to install fare gates is Gordon Campbell’s old Friend and Lobbyist for Cubit Industries, who manufacture fare-gate/card systems.

    DM Johnston

    November 21, 2009 at 7:53 am

  2. London’s Underground introduced gates in the early 1980s. Initially these were only in the Central Area but they were subsequently extended to all stations. The reason for their introduction was widespread fraud: ticket collectors were sending back tickets to booking office staff for resale. This fraud came to light during a staff strike, when an honour system of cash collection had to be introduced (using dustbins!) which saw a significant increase in cash revenues.

    Stephen Rees

    November 21, 2009 at 9:11 am

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