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    Feb 26, 2016

    Fine for transport fare cheats up from $20 to $50

    COMMUTERS caught dodging their bus and train fares, or underpaying them, will face stiffer penalties from Monday.

    The fine will be more than doubled, from $20 now to $50, the Public Transport Council (PTC) said yesterday.

    The $50 penalty will also apply to those who misuse concession tickets.

    "Fare evasion is a dishonest act," said PTC chief executive Alvin Chia. "The tougher measures are intended as a strong deterrence against the evasion of public transport fares and, hence, minimise free-riding behaviour.

    "This is only fair to the large majority of our commuters who pay the correct fares for their journeys."

    Enforcement action will also be more rigorous from Monday.

    Under the revised framework, action could be taken against commuters who attempt to travel for free, such as by "tail-gating" other commuters past fare gantries.

    Currently, commuters have to travel a distance before action can be taken against them.

    Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport member and Mountbatten MP Lim Biow Chuan, said fare evasion or underpayment leads to a loss of fare revenue.

    "Bus and transport companies will lose fare revenue and this will be borne eventually by all commuters," he added.

    Asked about whether the fine of $50 was a sufficient deterrent, Mr Lim noted: "The punishment should be commensurate with the offence.

    "Generally, if you try to cheat fares, you are talking about less than $2.

    "The new penalty will make those who are thinking of cheating think harder."

    Commuters, like Nathan Ng, 32, who runs a copywriting business, believe penalties could be harsher.

    "The fine of $20 was too light but, then again, $50 isn't too heavy for those who earn more," he said.

    "Perhaps there should be a range, with harsher fines of between $100 and $200 for those who repeatedly game the system."

    Operators SBS Transit and SMRT declined to comment.