Tuesday 17 July 2012
Almost one-in-12 Gold Coast students have been caught rorting the public transport system by refusing to pay fares.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the blitz by TransLink Senior Network Officers was the start of a systematic effort to target fare evasion and bad behaviour on Gold Coast buses.
"Across the first three days of the blitz TransLink's Senior Network Officers, assisted by police and Education Queensland, targeted bus routes servicing 24 Gold Coast schools and spoke to 1,391 students," Mr Emerson said.
"I assure anyone looking to avoid paying a fare or misbehaving on Gold Coast buses that this is just the start.
"We've already identified 119 students who failed to pay a fare, and if caught again, we will take action through their school and parents."
The blitz on Gold Coast bus services was an outcome of the inaugural bus safety committee, chaired by Mr Emerson and attended by operator representatives, driver representatives and government agencies.
"I listened to feedback from the operator Surfside and driver representatives who said poor behaviour was rife on many Gold Coast bus routes," Mr Emerson said.
"I was disgusted to learn that over the past three years a growing number of students were using the no child left behind principle put in place following the disappearance of Daniel Morcombe in 2003 to avoid paying a fare.
"I acknowledge this is a difficult problem, but I won't be sticking my head in the sand and ignoring it."
The Gold Coast bus blitz also extended to urban services where 8,444 passengers were checked with 233 fines and warnings issued for fare evasion.
The full results of the blitz will be assessed by the bus safety committee.
No school aged children were asked to leave a bus as a result of travelling without a ticket.