How to waste $6.30 and 10 minutes

The train was coming, so I ran into the station and scrabbled for my Yearly ticket. But I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t in my wallet. I pulled all the extraneous crap out to look for it… stamps… business card… Brumby’s baked-goods-frequent-eater (or whatever it’s called) but no luck. Dammit.

The train came and left. Oh well, nothing for it but to buy a ticket. I dug a $10 note out to buy a Daily. People were using the machine, so I sidled up to the booking office window (I am truly blessed — my station has staff who can sell you a ticket, rather than leaving you to the mercy of the Kelvinators).

The lady behind the counter recognised me. She said my mugshot is in the Connex newsletter. Ahh… so that explains why I’ve been recognised a couple of times by Connex staff recently.

I validated the ticket, then went to slip it into my shirt pocket, where I always keep my ticket when it’s not in my wallet. And there in that pocket… you can guess… I found the Yearly, which I then recalled I’d slipped into the shirt pocket 10 minutes earlier to save time at the station.

Dammit. (Grumpy Twitter post from the station.)

But there’s a happy ending. In the evening I encountered a lady who had locked all her belongings, including her wallet, inside one of the Ross House offices. She needed to get home, and had no money. I was able to — with no skin off my nose — give her my superfluous Daily ticket, and to use my Yearly to get home. (Yes, I made sure to give her the correct ticket.)

Afterwards I recalled some newish regulation about not sharing tickets. Must look up the details of that to see if what I did is against the rules…

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “How to waste $6.30 and 10 minutes”

good story and a happy ending.
I loaned my annual ticket to a work colleague last week who wanted to catch a tram at lunchtime.
I did feel guilty, but if I say “no” I feel mean.
What a dilema!!

Since you had your yearly when you travelled the first part of the trip – the daily was technically unused.

So unless the rules forbid you buying someone a ticket… they couldn’t do anything :)

You didn’t say whether or not you validated the daily ticket, but presumably any rules against sharing a Metcard ticket would only apply after you’ve validated the ticket?

– ozz

I had validated the Daily in the morning (if I hadn’t, I could have popped it away somewhere to use after my Yearly has expired; just like I do with the compensation Dailies I apply for each month Connex is below it’s performance target).

So the Daily had been validated and used in the morning. I didn’t use it in the afternoon/evening.

Without checking, I suspect the ticket can’t be transferred to a new owner, and technically I did the wrong thing. But given it was bought and validated by mistake, and I already had a valid Yearly, it’s the sort of example that should be permitted. (Might make an interesting test case.)

I’ve never really understood how that policy be policed anyway, unless you get caught in the act. Probably the most blatant case I’ve seen is someone boarding a bus then passing the ticket out the window (an old non AC bus) to their friend, who I don’t think got on the bus, as they would have got a “pass back” error if they tried to validate again on the same bus.

My mum had to buy a ticket after the preliminary final and a girl passing by who was on her way to celebrate in the city overheard us discussing this and said you can have my ticket as I won’t be needing it. Lucks a fortune sometimes.

Transferring tickets is a bit like the Fairway system (read the quotes and oh, so true!). A quick look over the books would reveal that neither is never policed. A more detailed examination (ie FOI request of numbers of those caught) would reveal that nobody has ever been caught.

Mind you, it can be a bit tough to ask the system to get better when tickets are being re-used!

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