All you freeloading bus-goers cost ACTION $5 million

Consumer 10 January 2012 25

buses

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, they say, but last financial year there were plenty of free bus rides. Around $5 million worth actually, thanks to the aged-and-failing Wayfarer ticketing system which was recently phased out for MyWay.

The figure is part of an ACTION bus audit compiled by the auditor-general.

“So that $3-$5 million is an estimate of how much that was occurring. It actually wasn’t lost, it was revenue not collected.

“So what was happening was the ticket machines on the buses weren’t working, so people were riding the buses without paying essentially.”

Shame on you all… perhaps the MyWay system sprung into action (har har) a fraction too late?


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25 Responses to All you freeloading bus-goers cost ACTION $5 million
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Ian Ian 5:14 pm 11 Jan 12

I ask myself what would Woolworths do if for example their whole cash register infrastructure was dying and they were unable to source parts for it. I’m guessing (a) they would have contracted with the supplier for a guaranteed supply of parts and support for x years (b) the increasing failures would have been anticipated and replacement planned for in plenty of time and before the crunch came with the old infrastructure (c) not only would they have planned for replacement, they would have executed their plans to ensure the replacement was delivered in time (d) they would have assessed all the risks they faced and had contingencies in place to deal with them.

I can’t imagine if Woolies had a mass cash register failure, they’d let their customers waltz in, fill their trolleys and waltz out without paying. They would have had some contingency in place. In ACTION’s case, why wouldn’t they change the fare conditions so if the magnetic ticketing wasn’t working, you have to pay a cash fare?

But hindsight’s wonderful isn’t it? Elusive too, just like commonsense, planning and basic good management were in the whole ACTION situation.

Let me guess how many ACTION/TAMS managers got the bullet over this schemozzle. I’m betting 0.

Ian Ian 5:03 pm 11 Jan 12

arescarti42 said :

“So that $3-$5 million is an estimate of how much that was occurring. It actually wasn’t lost, it was revenue not collected.”

Revenue lost and revenue not collected sounds like the same thing to me.

They have to be desperate to try to spin that difference positively. I don’t see that not collecting the money they’re supposed to is any less bad that collecting it and losing it. Outside the sheltered world of ACT Govco, either sends the operation out of business and earns those in charge a place in the Centrelink queue.

Stevian Stevian 3:35 pm 11 Jan 12

Duffbowl said :

Stevian said :

Abby Hoffman would be proud

When I was an angry yoof, Abbie was a person I looked to for inspiration in making the world’s wrongs right…

Then I discovered alcohol and other drugs, joined the ADF and stopped worrying about injustices. There is a story in there somewhere, kiddies.

Of course we all (most of us anyway) grow up. If we were all right on, far out Yippies society would collapse into a heap of Love, Peace and Mung Beans. A frightening prospect

Duffbowl Duffbowl 1:48 pm 11 Jan 12

Stevian said :

Abby Hoffman would be proud

When I was an angry yoof, Abbie was a person I looked to for inspiration in making the world’s wrongs right…

Then I discovered alcohol and other drugs, joined the ADF and stopped worrying about injustices. There is a story in there somewhere, kiddies.

Stevian Stevian 1:15 pm 11 Jan 12

Duffbowl said :

Similar things have happened for years. Settle down kiddies, and Old Man Duffbowl will regale you with tales of no-cost bus rides.

In 1982, a young man attempted to catch a bus home from high school. He had is 20c (ahh, those were the days), all in 1c pieces. The bus driver couldn’t be arsed counting them and putting them in his satchel (too many for the manual change holder), and told the young man not to worry about it.

Using this method, the young man saved a fair amount of money, close to $8 over a term. Not much now, but back then a veritable treasure trove. The bus drivers knew what was happening, as he was normally the last one to file on the bus. Much merriment ensued when, one day, a driver lost his shit, as today’s young’uns like to say, and threw the money at the student. Oh, what laughs were had!

Abby Hoffman would be proud

gecko gecko 1:14 pm 11 Jan 12

TAMSMediaRoom said :

This functionality was originally provided when MyWay was first introduced for instances where people got on the wrong bus and needed to change their mind. However, to reduce the risk of passengers trying to obtain a free ride, this functionality has been changed so people can only now change their mind via the bus driver and his/her console.

Drivers are also regularly trained in use of the MyWay system.

I still got a free ride this week, as we all had to tag off using the drivers console and got a change of mind. With default fare’s now been applied it would be a big pain if they stop doing this

TAMSMediaRoom TAMSMediaRoom 12:57 pm 11 Jan 12

Aenveigh said :

You can still get free rides on MyWay if the driver hasn’t established the route on their console. You tag on and tag off and MyWay thinks it’s the same spot, so doesn’t deduct a fare. The machine still beeps though so it all looks legit. Until they try and work out how much that bus took for the day (if they do that… the Auditor-General report seems to suggest they don’t worry too much…)

This functionality was originally provided when MyWay was first introduced for instances where people got on the wrong bus and needed to change their mind. However, to reduce the risk of passengers trying to obtain a free ride, this functionality has been changed so people can only now change their mind via the bus driver and his/her console.

Drivers are also regularly trained in use of the MyWay system.

Duffbowl Duffbowl 11:20 am 11 Jan 12

Similar things have happened for years. Settle down kiddies, and Old Man Duffbowl will regale you with tales of no-cost bus rides.

In 1982, a young man attempted to catch a bus home from high school. He had is 20c (ahh, those were the days), all in 1c pieces. The bus driver couldn’t be arsed counting them and putting them in his satchel (too many for the manual change holder), and told the young man not to worry about it.

Using this method, the young man saved a fair amount of money, close to $8 over a term. Not much now, but back then a veritable treasure trove. The bus drivers knew what was happening, as he was normally the last one to file on the bus. Much merriment ensued when, one day, a driver lost his shit, as today’s young’uns like to say, and threw the money at the student. Oh, what laughs were had!

dungfungus dungfungus 8:20 am 11 Jan 12

arescarti42 said :

“So that $3-$5 million is an estimate of how much that was occurring. It actually wasn’t lost, it was revenue not collected.”

Revenue lost and revenue not collected sounds like the same thing to me.

Nearly as good as the ActewAGL classic (following the sale of TransACT) that a $50 million loss was actually a good book profit.
The admission that there is “spare parts theft” is only the tip of the iceberg.
When is the Auditor General going to release a full report on the Rhodium Assets Solution debacle?

arescarti42 arescarti42 12:46 am 11 Jan 12

“So that $3-$5 million is an estimate of how much that was occurring. It actually wasn’t lost, it was revenue not collected.”

Revenue lost and revenue not collected sounds like the same thing to me.

mcmc mcmc 9:56 pm 10 Jan 12

Even WITH the MyWay system, I went to tag on the other day and the driver waved me through because his machine wasn’t working!

gooterz gooterz 8:03 pm 10 Jan 12

With the old system mirgration you had two changes to win.

With systems without the myway.. flash that.
With systems without the magnetic tickets.. flash that.

Now its 2012 does that mean we now get charged the full fare if we dont tag off?

I still find it kinda creepy that the government knows where we get on and get off!

Very Busy Very Busy 7:09 pm 10 Jan 12

The old Wayfarer ticketing system was so old that spare parts were no longer being produced. They were not available at any price.

If my memory serves me correctly, back in 2006 Stanhope decided that it would be a good idea to move the management of ACTION into the TAMS Department. Previously it was its own Government entity managed by a General Manager. That also coincided with a slashing of services and some bus drivers received redundancy payouts. Passenger numbers declined and more services have since been introduced requiring much outlay on new branding to get patronage levels back up.

Now I would like to pose the theory that if this Bus service was still managed by experts in their field as it was prior to 2006, the old ticketing system would have been replaced prior to it being so far beyond its use by date and other inefficiencies may not have occurred. Have there been any cost savings since ACTION was moved to TAMS?

Ryan Ryan 7:03 pm 10 Jan 12

AG Canberra said :

I understand their reluctance to buy parts for the machines they were about to rip out but a quick cost benefit analysis would have shown which were worth fixing and those that weren’t.

It wasn’t that they were reluctant to buy new parts, it was that they literally could not get them anymore.

IIRC, in the last year or so of the Wayfarers they were relying solely on second hand ones that had come from another, smaller operator.

puggy puggy 4:59 pm 10 Jan 12

powerpuffpete said :

Or asked people to trade in their Wayfarers for a MyWay pass by a certain date.

This, at least, they did. It took some time for my credit from my old magnetic ticket to pop up on my MyWay card, but it did get on there.

Aenveigh Aenveigh 4:31 pm 10 Jan 12

You can still get free rides on MyWay if the driver hasn’t established the route on their console. You tag on and tag off and MyWay thinks it’s the same spot, so doesn’t deduct a fare. The machine still beeps though so it all looks legit. Until they try and work out how much that bus took for the day (if they do that… the Auditor-General report seems to suggest they don’t worry too much…)

Instant Mash Instant Mash 4:20 pm 10 Jan 12

Hey, they can’t just refuse service, can they?

Stevian Stevian 3:37 pm 10 Jan 12

What am I supposed to do when they won’t take my money, Shove it down their throats

powerpuffpete powerpuffpete 3:02 pm 10 Jan 12

What an unusual post. People haven’t been sneaking onto the bus without paying, they have been unable to pay or swipe their passes due to the machines being broken down or due to the replacing of Wayfarer machines with MyWay while continuing to allow people to use their Wayfarers.

So it’s actually Action’s fault. They shouldn’t have had busses with faulty machines running, or they should have moved quickly to fix them.
If they were willing to honour existing Wayfarer tickets for an interim (which really, if they hadn’t, people would have thrown sh$t at the bus driver) then they should have continued to make those machines available (along with the MyWay). Or asked people to trade in their Wayfarers for a MyWay pass by a certain date. They even could have incentivised the trade-in and offered 1 free ride and it still would have reduced the outgoing costs. I’m sure there are a number of options that weren’t exercised.

If they didn’t have the money to do so then it sucks for us, as it’s our only form of public transport. Bit of a money black hole, isn’t it…

NoImRight NoImRight 2:18 pm 10 Jan 12

AG Canberra said :

I reckon the loss was easily more than $5 million.

.

Yes the Auditor-General is proven to be not as good a source of figures as when someone “reckons”

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