Fare evaders in Auckland may soon face fines up to $500 if they choose not to pay for their trip on public transport.
From June 18, Transport Officers can issue infringement notices to passengers who fail to tag on with their AT HOP card or buy a ticket to use public transport.
Offenders will face infringement fees of $150, or a fine of up to $500 if they choose to go to court rather than pay the infringement fee.
Fare evasion costs $2 million to $3m a year, putting an extra burden on ratepayers and taxpayers who already subsidise around half the cost of fares.
Transport compliance manager Logan Christian hears a whole range of excuses, but there's no reason not to tag on with your AT HOP card or buy a ticket.
"This is not about revenue gathering, this is about making it fair for everyone who uses public transport. We want this to be a deterrent, we don't want to have to issue these infringements, we just want everyone to pay for the services they use. If you use a HOP card, it's cheap to travel on public transport, so there really is no excuse not to pay your fair share.
"Our transport officers move up and down the train checking tickets and HOP cards, but don't worry, they are friendly and they are there to help."
Transport officers, who hold a warrant from the Commissioner of Police as enforcement officers, began working on the train network late last year, and are currently on the Western and Onehunga lines. As Auckland Transport recruits more staff they will begin to work on other services as well.
Changes to the Land Transport Act provided powers to transport officers on Auckland's public transport network, and regulations that come into force on June 18, enable the issue of infringement notices.