It is really interesting to read about transport in the news here. Last week, we heard about 3 fare conductors who actually got beaten up by 2 men who did not pay up their tram fares. Yesterday, due to a water leakage and the risk of water getting to high voltage electrical systems in the train control room, they had to shut down the entire train system for 2 hours, inconveniencing thousands of passengers. Today, the transportation company actually launched a campaign against fare evasion. Some people think this is really bad timing given what happened yesterday...I sort of think so too. But more than that, I find it funny that they actually bother planning advertising campaigns when they could be spending their money and efforts reviewing why people do not pay to use transport at times and try to address those areas.
I don't profess to be an expert at urban transportation planning but I feel that compared to Singapore, this is really far off. For one, the fare structure puts people off because fares are so generally structured and it is not cheap. If you just wanted a short tram ride because your legs are tired, you would have to pay the same fare at minimum as someone who wanted to run errands for 2 hours all over the place (which is not really likely anyway, how much can you travel in 2 hours?). If you wanted to go shopping for more than 2 hours just out of walking distance, you would have to pay a full day's tram fare of $5.90. We do tons of walking here as a result. I think the fare structure should generally be based on distance, not time. If you could pay a smaller fare for a short distance travelled, people would not be so adverse paying up because it really does look fairer.
The system is also based on trust - only the city train stations do not allow access without a card. But everywhere else, it is really just up to your conscience. With such expensive transport fares, many people's conscience just decide to sit in their pockets together with their dollar notes (since the tram ticket machines only accept coins!).
Am I glad that most of the time I don't have to take any transport!