The economic motive for fare evasion is simple; a daily traveler must get caught at least ten times a year in order to make buying a ticket worthwhile.
This article details the decline in enforcement levels:
My personal observation is that there has been an unwillingness by police assigned to the transport command to inspect tickets, as well as as a lower strength in numbers than the transit officers they replaced.
Major issues include:
-Enormous abuse of the $2.50 Pensioner ticket by just about everyone
-Fraudulent use of concessions
-Increased focus by police on security to the detriment of ticket enforcement
-Fine is too low
-Barrier staff have no enforcement power (people jumping gates just laugh at them)
-When there are transport/transit officers, they roam around, uniformed in packs of four or five, meanwhile the dodger stands at the end pf the platform and notices them in an instant as the train pulls in.
-Keeping a "reserve" multi ticket purchased from a newsagent in case an officer inspects them
-Rumour has it that transport officers will only number 150, only work between 6am to 9pm, and only in sydney metro. Open slather everywhere else!
-All the new transport officers I have seen just seem to sit on train talking rather than working (It's government, no suprise)
-Anyone who sees transits at barriers checking concessions, just turns around, uses a different barrier or takes the train to another city station. Only the dumb or those ignorant of the ticket rules get caught.
-You can get in without even jumping a barrier most of the day at the Bathurst street end of museum and at St James.
One thing they have done that has been beneficial is to strengthen the barriers to resist them being pulled open. However one can still just easily step over the wide barrier.
They also tried a 'no concessions' from vending machines, but it is hardly ever turned on, even at the times when it's meant to be. In any case, one can just pick up a 2.50 PET from a local newsagent anyway, no ID. (manly wharf newslink comes in handy for manly ferry)
I believe the fine should be 550 first offence, 800 second offence, there needs to be at least 600 transport officers, PET only sold from window, not at machine and not at newsagent. And the transport officers and police need to wear plain clothes sometimes as well. Also more blitzes at barriers (I'm thinking at least 1 day a week per barrier) if they can disrupt people's routine enough, they will eventually cave in and buy.
How do I know all this? for years I paid exactly the same amount for trains as railcorp staff do.
Does anyone else have any ideas for combating fare dodgers?