TransLink cracking down on fines

New enforcement techniques introduced

By Eric Wilkins, Staff Writer

As of Tuesday last week, the provincial legislation set to give TransLink further means to enforce fare evasion is in effect. From now on, should a fare evader fail to pay their ticket, ICBC can refuse to issue or renew the person’s driver’s licence and/or vehicle insurance. TransLink can now also bring in collection agencies to further crack down on unpaid tickets. TransLink Security and Police will be patrolling SkyTrain stations in increased numbers and the security teams now have the power to issue tickets.

TransLink spokesperson, Drew Snider, said that there will be more fare checks set up, though the locations of the checks will be announced through various media sites shortly before, so as to give riders an opportunity to purchase a ticket. Snider continued that the intent of the checks is primarily to remind people to purchase a ticket.

In terms of the actual tickets, ticket fines now increase the longer they go unpaid. If unpaid after six months, the amount rises from the standard $173 to $213. Should the fine still be outstanding after a year, the total will top out at $273.

“The new regulation is critical to reducing theft,” said TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis in relation to the new measures. “The provincial government has given us an important new tool to safeguard a significant source of revenue.”

Previously, when tickets were ignored, there was nothing TransLink could do about it. Due to this, many people did just that, and ignored TransLink fines. According to ICBC, between January 1, 2011 and March 1, 2012, there were over 64,000 cases of fare evasion. Of these tickets, approximately 11,000 were voided, 7,500 were paid, and the rest (upwards of 45,500) were unpaid. Those tickets added up to more than $7.7 million in lost revenue for the company.

TransLink COO, Doug Kelsey had this to say about the new enforcement methods, “The vast majority do pay their fares. This is really targeted [to] help shape behaviour on the system so that everybody pays. The people who pay should not be subsidizing the small group who don’t pay.”

On a related note, TransLink installed the first faregates at the Marine Drive Station over the summer and plan to have the entire system (245 gates) in place sometime next summer or fall. The system will use a Compass card (prepaid smart card) to proceed through the gates, similar to London’s Oyster card.