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A ''COMMONSENSE'' approach should have been taken by inspectors to a tram passenger fined $172 after his valid ticket failed to work, Premier John Brumby and Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky have said.
Commuter Muru Gappan said yesterday he would fight in court the $172 fine he received after his multi-trip ticket failed aboard a Glen Huntly tram despite repeated attempts to validate it.
He was later told by transport marketing agency Metlink that he should have either got off the tram or bought a new ticket.
Yarra Trams backed its ticket inspectors yesterday, saying a probe had found validators aboard the tram Mr Gappan was on had worked, and that his ticket may have been faulty. Mr Gappan said this changed nothing, because he was fined despite trying to do the right thing.
Mr Brumby said: ''It would appear that the commonsense test was not applied in this matter.'' Ms Kosky's spokesman said common sense should have prevailed.
The case drew hundreds of emails, phone calls and postings on The Age's website from readers angered by the $16.5 million worth of ticket fines dished out on the city's public transport system in the year to July.
Many told of circumstances similar to Mr Gappan's, where inspectors had fined them after a machine or valid ticket failed.
Of 39,000 appeals over fines last year to the Transport Department, only 3000 got off.
Instances such as Mr Gappan's could become more common under the myki system, to launch in Melbourne soon.
A new ticketing manual released for myki last month warns that passengers whose smartcard fails to register on one of the new myki readers ''must purchase short-term tickets to travel''.
The spokeswoman for the myki project, public relations consultant Jean Ker Walsh, confirmed that passengers with a myki card that did not work would need to either buy a short-term ticket or have their myki card replaced if they wanted to travel.
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