Transit fare evaders cough up small change 0
People are starting to pay the latest round of issued fare evasion tickets, but 82% of those ticketed are still holding out. (24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)
TransLink has snapped up $344,688 in paid fare evasion fines since Victoria introduced legislation five months ago to crack down on cheaters.
At the same time, about 82% of violators caught have yet to pay, despite changes implemented to give teeth to evasion fines. ICBC can now refuse to issue a driver’s licence to a fare evader who hasn’t paid.
Referencing data from TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis’s most recent report to the board of directors published Tuesday, spokesman Derek Zabel said since September, police and TransLink officials had conducted 200,000 more fare checks compared to the same period a year earlier.
Fines between Sept. 4 and Dec. 31 — worth $1.55 million if paid immediately — have yet to be paid. However, all those fined have 90 days to pay before TransLink contacts a collection agency.
Zabel said TransLink doesn’t consider the fines a “revenue stream,” but noted the authority would review the changes later this year.
Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s Jordan Bateman disagreed.
“If their operating deficit is as bad as they say, why they wouldn’t consider an influx of a couple million (of dollars) a year is beyond me.”
Transit Police have also changed the way they monitor bus stops and SkyTrain stations. They now use statistical data to focus on areas where large numbers of evaders frequent.
“We’re targeting the most problematic areas,” Transit Police spokeswoman Anne Drennan said. “Train stations, particular bus zones, that kind of thing.”
Top four fare evader bus routes/SkyTrain stations:
- #20 Downtown/Victoria
- #8 Downtown/Fraser
- #321 White Rock/Newton/Surrey Central
- #16 29th Avenue/Arbutus
- #3 Main/Downtown
- Broadway and Commercial
- King George
- Main Street
- Surrey Central