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Joint Media Release



PTUA and Consumer Law Centre Victoria Joint

The Consumer Law Centre Victoria and the Public Transport Users Association today announced a two-week public transport rights "blitz". As part of the "blitz" the two organisations have developed a brochure titled "Your Public Transport Rights". The brochure will be distributed to thousands of members of the travelling public over the next two weeks.

Chris Field, Executive Director, of the Centre said that the two organisations had been flooded with complaints from Victorians due to the well-known problems with the ticketing system and disturbing reports about the actions of ticket inspectors.

"Like most Victorians, we don't condone fare evasion - it is unlawful and robs the system of much-needed revenue. However, many Victorians are currently being stopped, questioned, detained, arrested and fined in circumstances where they have not been able to purchase a ticket or validate their pre-purchased ticket," said Mr Field.

"The private transport companies have said a great deal about the obligations of Victorians as part of their fare evasion blitzes. Victorians are saying that they want the transport companies to have obligations to them - to provide excellent customer service, ticketing systems that work and ceasing maligned heavy-handed enforcement strategies" said Mr Field.

PTUA Secretary Vaughan Williams said that the fare evasion problem was clearly the result of the disastrous automated ticketing system installed by the Kennett government and the associated removal of customer service staff from the system.

"The ticketing system needs to be fixed. Rather than taking punitive measures against the travelling public, the government and operators need to move to make the system more passenger-friendly. A good place to start would be using the 200 publicly funded additional staff for their intended purpose as genuine tram conductors and station attendants - this can and should be done immediately."

"In the longer term, a strategic, consultative process is needed to implement a system consistent with the recommendations of the 1991 Met Ticketing Taskforce, which were the outcome of a transparent public process and had broad support from the travelling public."

"Until this happens, it is necessary for our organisations to take steps to inform the travelling public of their rights when travelling on public transport and dealing with ticket inspectors. It's time the travelling public had their concerns and wishes taken seriously and a system that meets their needs was implemented," concluded Mr Williams.

PTUA Office 9650 7898

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Last Modified: 24 July 2002