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Transit fares evaders 2011/12/15 13:26
The transit company in my North American home town is spending $ 200 million of their cash-strapped small budget to install fare gates in the rapid transit system as they believe it will practically eliminate fare cheating.

Yet London transit has fare gates in all the Tube stations but still lost 20 million pounds in 2010 to fare cheaters (a 75 million loss if one includes buses).

In one of our local papers a reader wrote that no one cheats in Japan because their rapid transit systems both have fare gates and staff that check all the gates...

Question 1: does fare evasion / fare cheating happen in Japan at all?

When I was in Japan I used city buses that let people in by the back door (they got a time stamped ticket from a machine in the bus) and let them only exit--after paying-- by the front door, next to the driver.
Question 2: Are all city buses everywhere like that or what system is there to prevent fraud??
by Red frog (guest)  

Re: Transit fares evaders 2011/12/15 13:55
does fare evasion / fare cheating happen in Japan at all?

Yes, it happens everywhere where there are human beings. I don't have statistics to compare it with other countries or cities, but I have seen a few people forcing themselves through a closed ticket gate - usually at unmanned or busy gates. There are also a few ways to cheat the system by using certain types of tickets, but it is better not to go into details.

Question 2: Are all city buses everywhere like that or what system is there to prevent fraud??

Almost all city buses (and trams) work like that with minor variations, e.g. if it is a flat fare bus, sometimes you pay when entering rather than when leaving. I think this type of system is used because of the lack of a more practical alternative and because the concept of "self control" on public transportation has not become popular in Japan.

What are Vancouver's future plans for its buses?
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Transit fares evaders 2011/12/15 14:24
Think cheating on fares in Japan is a lot harder now that it was 15 years ago when it was a problem of epidemic proportions.

Technology and systems improve but so do the methods of those intent on cheating.

Yes, I still see cheating using brute force from time to time but again, compared to back in the day when the railways used an analog ticket, things are much better now.

Buses vary by city. Tokyo seems have mostly front-loading, pay-to-ride buses now because it would be impossible to police riders on buses where you pay upon exit.
by kyototrans rate this post as useful

Re: Transit fares evaders 2011/12/15 15:12
It is very naive to say no fare cheating occurs in Japan.
I know how the fare cheating is done on trains. Also I've seen commuting students doing it quite often. I am sure other adults are doing also but I don't know the extent.
On buses usually you need to pick up "seiriken"=numbered ticket as the proof of origination at the rear door when you get on and you pay into the fare box(bill changer & instant coin calculation & display) located at the driver the fare displayed on the board behind the driver when you disembark. The fare board is updated as the bus passes the stops. Perhaps there are less chance for fare cheating on buses unless the cheaper gets off from the rear door which is very unlikely in Japan but happens quite often in US. There are no transfer tickets in Japan.
by amazinga (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Transit fares evaders 2011/12/15 15:16
Thanks Uji for your reply.
So far I haven't heard about a special system being planned for buses. Even though in Metro Vancouver as, in most transit systems, buses are where most of the losses originates.

The official line is that the new smart card will greatly reduce cheating on buses. How could that be? right now cheaters either go in by the driver without paying or sneak by another door. They will continue to do it.
Unless doors will slam shut if one comes near the bus without a smart card. Not realistic or practical.

Bus drivers no longer challenge non-paying customers as too many of the drivers have been injured, some of them very seriously.

What puzzles me is how TransLink knows that X millions $ are lost as there is no automatic system in buses, SkyTrain and Seabus counting passengers going in/out and no way of knowing how many passengers pay full price for a trip, use discounted single trip tickets or have one of many monthly passes that give a sizable discount.

Talking about a big loss of .X millions a year only makes the people that do not like transit for philosophical / political reasons mad as a rabid hare.
Then there are the transit systems---like Portland---that do not charge a fare at all in the downtown area. It helps reduce car traffic in that area and is very practical for downtown shoppers.
by Red frog (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Transit fares evaders 2011/12/15 16:19
Thank you ALL...I had not seen the posts by kyototrans and Amazinga when I posted. Very useful and interesting info
by Red frog (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Transit fares evaders 2011/12/15 16:57
There are no transfer tickets in Japan.

Minor detail, but yes, there are a few cities in Japan that use transfer tickets for their bus and tram networks. Usually only at designated transfer stops.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Transit fares evaders 2011/12/16 02:05
Yes, of course it happens sometimes, but I think it's a lot less than most other places.

I know at one point in time many years ago, there were many "technical" ways to cheat the system.
There's some that still exist, but not the bad problems that they once had.

Then there is some more "brute force" methods, such as forcing through the gate or jumping the gate. But I've never seen it personally, and it would be difficult to do as there is always someone who watches at a window by the gates; and there also camera-- regardless of whether there is someone actively watching or not, it still discourages would-be criminals.
by B (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Transit fares evaders 2011/12/16 08:01
Are there fare evaders in Japan, of course, but I don't think that there are as many that cost the system millions of dollars either. Of course in Japan you have ridership levels that pale in comparison to some world cities as well. The vast majority of people who do ride, are paying. The system itself makes it difficult to evade, but not impossible, because nothing is full proof.

Essentially the profits are much higher then the miniscule amounts of losses they might experience if a few people evaded, more so in the larger cities like Tokyo where many people take public transportation it probably doesn't hurt as much for the few cheaters out there.

Though I can understand how it can hurt smaller cities where there are not as many people riding the trains thus revenue coming into the system is smaller.

As for buses, as mentioned there are two types of buses. One where you enter in the back door and pay when you go out the front door, this is for buses that are distance based fares. There are other buses where the fare is fixed, so you pay when you enter the bus. I think it's pretty hard to evade the bus fare in Japan, it's almost fool proof, but again nothing is 100% full proof.
by ExpressTrain (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Transit fares evaders 2011/12/16 10:35
I, and probably most Japanese residents who have been to European cities like London feel that this has more to do with the society than machines. I'm not saying that one society is better or worse than the other, by the way.

Every Japanese tourist in London is astonished seeing people literally jumping over automatic gates of the underground railway system. It's almost a tourist attraction and it's pretty much the norm. It's not just for punks. Ordinary people do it and all the tube staff can do is to yell at them in vain. It even makes you feel dumb paying the correct fare. Besides, the high cost tube fare is outrageous.

This is more like a pedestrian in Japan ignoring a red signal on a quiet street or a worker in Japan taking home someone else's umbrella without permission. Or okay, it's more like not paying in a no-man train station in the countrysides of Japan. You know it's wrong, but since "everyone" does it you can kind of get away with it. Some people might yell at you, but they won't grab you by the arm to take you to the back room.

On the other hand, cheating transportation fares does happen all the time (okay, I admit I used to do it when I was a poor Japanese uni student in Tokyo) but not as obviously as it does in the London tube. A user or two would try to do it discreetly, and if a staff luckily witnesses one, he will literally run after that one abuser in which the abuser will be easily caught. The abuser will then get a lecture in the office where (s)he will pay the fare on the spot, and if the abuser is young and the abuse is serious, the parent is called.

And when I say "discreetly," I mean more like using two cheap tickets to avoid paying the expensive portion, and not like jumping over a gate like an athlete. It's just the way they are. You'll look dumb trying to jump whereas you won't look dumb stealing an umbrella.

So in Japan, a system to block clever abusers and to let staffs keep an eye on them effectively does work. On the other hand, in places like London I think you need to evoke awareness among the society first.

I wonder how it is in the OP's city. Actually, it did seem harder to jump gate in New York as opposed to London when I visited Manhattan decades ago.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Transit fares evaders 2011/12/16 15:38
Thanks for the latest replies..
Uco: our rapid transit service (it looks a bit like the Yurikamome and Toneri liner but has steel wheels instead of wheels with rubber tires) doesn't have a booth at each entrance, with staff, and there are no fare gates.

The majority of passengers do pay. They buy tickets or passes because they know that it is the right thing to do and not just because they have to show them when using a bus before or after using the rapid transit system.

Transit police check trains and buses but not every minute of every day. I may be checked twice in one day then not checked for 3 weeks.
Fare evasion occurs in the transit systems of many countries, even those with fare gates and visible staff, so culture may be involved in cities with more cheaters than usual.
by Red frog (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Transit fares evaders 2011/12/16 19:23
In most British cities it's actually easier to cheat getting on the train or bus. On the bus some people just walk past the driver and not pay or threaten the driver with violence. In places outside of London, some stations (especially in the West Midlands) don't have ticket barriers. Many staff are apathetic about it.

If you don't use your ticket in Japan the barriers close and there are more station staff/cameras and you are more likely to get caught and told off.

What I want to know is how people fare cheat in Tokyo. o_O
by edincoat rate this post as useful

Re: Transit fares evaders 2011/12/17 01:48
Red frog,

Among the few cities I've been to, your city's system and manners of the people seem more like Dusseldorf, Germany than London or Tokyo. They do cheat there, too, but it's more like how you describe your city.

I do admit that it was in the 80s when I was there last, but perhaps your city can learn from them since they seem similar.

By the way, I think the likes of Suica/Pasmo cards we have now in Japan helps prevent cheating, too.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Transit fares evaders 2011/12/20 15:19
by Red frog (guest) rate this post as useful

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