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Organisers of a proposed scheme to shield fare evaders from fines are reconsidering the project following calls to shut it down.
Public Transport Victoria chief Ian Dobbs has urged the organisers of Tramsurance, which for $20 a month would cover fines incurred for fare evasion, to shelve the project.
"We're going to ask them to desist," Mr Dobbs told ABC 774. "If they don't do that we will probably have to refer them to Victoria Police because we can't have this."
Mr Dobbs said the concept would incite people to break the law by dodging public transport fares.
"We all aim for a better transport system, the only way we can do that is by investing in it and if people don't pay then we have less money and less chance in investing in it. People who are cheating the system are really cheating the users and making it more difficult to improve things in future."
The organisers of Tramsurance are now deciding on their next move. While the service was set to launch on July 20, organiser Tom Pisel said he was no longer sure whether it would be going live on that date.
For $20 a month, fare evaders would be offered 'Tramsurance'.
"We do definitely want to go ahead with it but we are considering our options," Mr Pisel said.
Mr Pisel, an engineering student, said if he was not involved in turning the idea into a reality that he hoped someone else would figure out a way to make the service work.
"The idea is no longer ours but belongs to everyone who has been dissatisfied with Melbourne's public transport to date," he said.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said it was not possible to say whether Tramsurance was legal until the concept had adopted a clear business model.
Mr Pisel said the model he had in mind was a trust rather than a bona-fide insurance scheme.
Under the Australian and Consumer Law and Fair Trading Act, Tramsurance would have to provide assurances that any fines incurred by users could be covered by the $20 monthly payment or risk being accused of engaging in misleading conduct.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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