How commuters rort Go Card for half price fares
FARE dodgers and careless commuters were charged nearly 3 million "fixed fees'' on Go Cards in the past year - regardless of how far they travelled - after failing to tap on or off during a trip.
TransLink yesterday denied widespread rorting, even though on long trips, fixed fees are a windfall for commuters, who pay $5 or $10 instead of nearly $20 for a one-way fare.
Commuters who fail or forget to tap on at the start of a trip or off at the end are charged a fixed fee of $5 for bus trips and $10 for rail and ferry trips, regardless of distance.
This is far cheaper than the $19.96 fare to travel eight zones from Gympie North, Noosa Heads or Cooroy to central Brisbane, the $16.82 for seven zones from Coolangatta to Brisbane, or $13.53 for six zones from Varsity Lakes, Nambour or Maroochydore to Brisbane.
But commuters on short trips, who should pay $3.31 for fares in inner-Brisbane or $4.03 from outer suburbs, are short-changed by the fixed fares.
Only one in 10 commuters slugged with a fixed fee bothers to call TransLink to request a refund after forgetting to tap on or off.
Data obtained by The Courier-Mail reveals commuters were charged 2.9 million fixed fares in the past year.
A TransLink spokesman yesterday said fixed fares comprised 1.77 per cent of the total number of Go Card trips in southeast Queensland - equivalent to one in every 56 trips.
He said 86 per cent of Go Cards that were charged a fixed fare "did so only once that week''.
"Based on our analysis of the data, there is no overall pattern of deliberate misuse regarding fixed fares,'' he said. "For safety reasons, TransLink allows customers to travel as long as they have a positive balance on their Go Card when they touch on.
"Some customers who forget to touch off or who have touched off incorrectly by mistake would receive a fixed fare.
"We encourage customers to call TransLink on 13 12 30 for an adjustment for a fixed fare if they have made an error.''
Guards have also been posted at the Brisbane Airtrain stop to check that commuters tap their Go Cards when they get off at the airport. The fixed fare for airport trips is $30.
Commuters in southeast Queensland made 163 million trips using Go Cards in the past year.