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August 10, 2013

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Fare dodgers could lose out on future jobs and bank loans

DODGE your fare at Shanghai’s Metro stations and it could affect your future applications for jobs, loans and subsidies, officials warned yesterday. 

Shanghai government said more than 160 people now have records on their personal credit system showing that they were caught without a ticket on the subway.

This is the latest initiative to crack down on fare dodging, a phenomenon which officials say has grown to serious levels.

The black mark on government-held personal credit records will in future be seen when a fare dodger applies for a job, bank loans, or government subsidies, according to the Shanghai Credit Management Office.

However, questions have been raised concerning the effectiveness of the system, as currently this credit information is not fully shared.

“We are still discussing details on how to use the information and link it to other platforms like banks and other government departments,” said Jin Bin, an official with the office.

Jin said the credit information platform, first used in June, connects to the Metro, with access to the fare dodger’s personal information, such as identity numbers.

The office says it’s legal for it to hold such information, usually recorded by police when culprits are seized.

It also gathers information from 41 government departments and local utilities and courts, said officials.

Shanghai is also considering raising fare dodging fines, as a revised Metro regulation has been drafted.

“Fines are too light,” said Shao Weizhong, vice president of subway operator Shanghai Shentong Metro Group.

Passengers caught without tickets must pay the ticket price and a fine of up to five times its value —  which is 50 yuan (US$ 8.1) at most.

Police are called if fare dodgers refuse to pay.

So far this year, the Metro operator has caught more than 40,000 fare dodgers. Most jumped barriers, while others  had fake certificates.

Young riders were even found using seniors’ cards, which entitle the holder the free rides, said Metro staff.

Seized senior cards are retained for a time by the traffic administration before being returned to the rightful owners, said officials.

Metro authorities are targeting fare dodgers on all 13 lines, officials said yesterday, in a three-month-long campaign.


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