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April 9, 2011

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Mass fare dodging shocks city

AS other morning commuters waited patiently in line, more than a dozen Metro passengers rushed toward two ticket barriers, vaulting clean over and disappearing down to the platform free of charge.

A video clip of the mass fare dodging has now provoked widespread condemnation online. The Metro operator confirmed yesterday that the footage was genuine and said most of the culprits were later caught.

The incident took place about 8am on Thursday in peak traffic at Metro Line 6 Jufeng Road Station, said Lan Tian, an official with local Metro management.

The clip, presumably shot by a witness, was uploaded to social networking and news websites and became the target of reviewers' ire.

"It's not a string of ticket dodgers - that's a crowd!" said one blogger. Others said they were "stunned" and criticized the unruly riders for acting shamelessly.

Alongside soaring passenger numbers, fare dodging is becoming increasingly common at subway stations, leading Metro management and police to team up to improve supervision.

"Although barrier jumping is taking place frequently at many Metro stations, a scene like this is still rare and surprising," Lan said.

Lan said after the first man leapt the barrier without being stopped, others copied him.

At the time of the incident, Jufeng Road Station was under passenger traffic control, a temporary policy adopted in rush hours.

Passengers were supposed to enter only through certain barriers to limit numbers on platforms.

The group ignored passengers lining up alongside to legally enter. One middle-aged woman even smiled and lent a hand to help a fellow traveler over.

The footage also raised questions about the effectiveness of station security, as it showed a security worker looking on as the group jumped the barriers.

However, Metro management said back up security workers arrived quickly, caught most of the dodgers and made them pay their fares.

The Metro management is also encouraging passengers to report fare dodgers to staff.

"Security workers are obliged to take action upon a report of fare dodging."

Currently, the maximum punishment is nine times the value of a valid ticket.

Lan called for stronger penalties. "Fare dodging offenses should be recorded on a culprit's personal social credibility history," Lan said.


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