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ALMOST 170,000 free trips are being taken on Melbourne's public transport network each weekday, despite overall fare evasion falling.
Results of the latest fare evasion survey, released yesterday, showed freeloaders equated to 9.4 per cent of about 1.8 million weekday commuters. It is an improvement on the 11.9 per cent figure in October last year and 13.5 per cent in May this year.
Fare evasion on buses rose from 7.6 per cent in October 2011 to 9.1 per cent - or about 38,000 of the 417,000 weekday trips.
The number of free trips on trains (8.8 per cent) and trams (10.5 per cent) fell, according to the twice-yearly survey of 10,000 commuters.
Fare evasion on trams is now at its lowest level since early 2008.
Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said travelling without a ticket was no different to driving off from a petrol station without paying and cost the community about $80 million a year.
"It is theft, pure and simple," he said.Fare evasion attracts a $207 fine.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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