Recently on my way to work on the tram, I was
ambushed by over-zealous under-cover "authorised officers" not once, not twice, but THREE times in the space of about 20 minutes. None of these "officers" had any means of actually checking my Myki card so they all just looked at it and then passed it back to me. Great job gumby. Then they moved onto the unfortunate Metcard customers who they do not need any technology to use in order to royally fuck up their day.
Despite the media reports on violent and aggressive behavior by officers in the last few years: including an incident earlier in the year in which three "officers" assaulted a female passenger who didn't have a ticket, the Victoria Government is saying that it wants inspectors to cut down on their "soft" approach. Meanwhile, The Age recently published an article entitled: "Ticket inspectors feared, loathed, secret research shows" in which previously hidden research describes the public's perception of inspectors as "a scary, intimidating and nasty means to collect revenue." How is that a secret?
When Kennett sold off Victoria's public transport system back in 1999 to three overseas companies, Victorians were told that it would create savings to them. This has not been the case. Fares have gone up. For me to get to work, which means I have to travel across two zones, it costs $11 a day - or $51 for a weekly. This effectively makes it cheaper for me to drive to work, which I don't really want to do for environmental reasons. Good to see that the government is dealing with issues such as urban sprawl, traffic increase and pollution.
The scare campaign against "fare evaders" started with offensively bad attempts at humour, such as the "bad Karma" signs, in which some Metlink advertising genius decided that it was in good taste to borrow a religious concept in order to shame people:
One of my male friends complained to me that these ads must have been made by a man-hating feminist, as the men were always subjected to far worse fare-evading karmic punishment.
Here, you can see that the man on the left has been struck by lightening for playing golf, whereas the woman on the left merely has her skirt tucked into her undies. Awkward yes, life-threatening no. Both of these fare-evading citizens are obviously fairly well-off individuals. The guy on the left is playing golf: the recreational activity of the elite, and the woman on the left is clearly a professional of some description. I suppose this suggests that all fare-evaders are all wealthy people who could buy a ticket if they wanted to, but they don't because they're parasitic bastards leeching off ordinary decent upstanding citizens. People living below the poverty line aren't really featured in these advertising masterpieces.
Speaking of Karma, I would like to take this opportunity to point out to all ticket inspectors that there is currently a skills shortage in the Community Service area. That is because there is a lot of poverty in Melbourne. Perhaps now would be a good time to change career and cross over from the dark side. If you came across a person who had fallen off a precipice, managing to clasp at the edge as they slipped down - would you grab their hand and try to pull them back up to safety? Or would you unzip the fly of your pants and piss in their face before jumping on their fingers? Anyway, I digress. When this Karma thing didn't work, they moved away from the humour and just decided to scribble people out altogether. Communications and campaigns professional Alex White believes that this latest campaign may actually encourage people to fare evade: http://alexwhite.org/2011/06/dissecting-metlinks-new-public-transport-fare-evasion-ads/
To summarise; I would like to propose that we, the public - create our own stickers to put up on public transport. I have some ideas of my own but please send in more and I'll get them made up!
Topic: What is a "fare-evader"?
1. A "fare-evader" may be a person who is struggling to make ends meet financially.
2. ...may be a person with complex mental-health issues.
3. may be a person who is angry about the privatisation of public transport.
4. may be someone who is tired of late and over-crowded service.
5. ....someone who feels that current fare rates are extortion.
6. ...a person who is not in possession of the correct change.
7. ...a frugal person who knows that with skill, they could save themselves thousands of
8. ...a person who is nostalgic about the days of conductors and feels that they are no longer
treated with respect.
9. ...someone who sees the metlink scare campaign as a challenge rather than allowing it to
10. ...someone who knows very well that if they don't buy a ticket it in no way effects the person
sitting next to them.
11. ...someone who may be bullied, intimidated and robbed by a group of "officers" if caught.
12. ...a modern day bushranger in the vein of Ned Kelly.
13. ...a protester.
14. ...someone who resents that tax money has been used to bail metlink out for it's own poor
15. ...a lost tourist.
16. ...someone who lost their wallet, concession card or money.