Almost one in 10 people ride G:link trams for free. Queensland’s Gold Coast Light Rail registered about 8.7 million passenger trips in 2016-2017. Yet, around 724,000 were taken without paying the fare, according to estimates. This implies more than $1 million in revenue loss.
Figures revealed the Gold Coast light rail would have achieved a total revenue of $16.4 million. However, $1.37 million was lost through fare evasion.
Warnings, controls and fines at G:link
Given this situation, the government is studying ways to deter people from using public transport without paying. Liberal National Party (LNP) member Jann Stuckey affirmed there is “an extensive communications plan in place to educate passengers and discourage fare evasion”. This scheme includes signage at stations and tram wrap.
In addition, the transport agency TransLink, G:link and the police conduct joint operations. The aim is targeting fare evasion and anti-social behaviour on public transport on the Gold Coast. G:link recently employed 30 officers to perform this task.
When caught without a valid ticket, passengers can get a warning or a $252 fine. Repeat offenders can receive a notice to appear in court and may have to pay larger penalties imposed by a magistrate.
Fare evasion estimates
In April 2015 a fare evasion count button was installed on Gold Coast buses to register any people traveling without a valid ticket. During its first year of implementation, bus drivers pressed the button more than 425,000 times.
This driver-operated “fare evade” button is not in trams due to the lower interaction between tram drivers and passengers. Vehicles are seven cars long and have a multi-door system. Consequently, data on fare evasion in G:link is an estimate. Cost calculations used independent six-monthly intercept surveys, the total patronage and the average fare paid by passengers.
For more information on the topic, you can take a look at the following article.