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New penalties for fare evasion: here’s what you need to know

One of our ads highlighting the increased penalties for fare evasion, starting September 4, 2012

Over the past few weeks, you might have seen ads and posters on our system letting people know we’re stepping up our fare enforcement activities. That’s because effective September 4, 2012, TransLink assumes new responsibility to issue and collect fare infraction tickets, as well as resolve fare infraction disputes.

Our goal with this new responsibility is to cut down on fare evasion, and getting people to pay their fair share. It’s not to give out tickets to collect fines—we just want to make sure that people who fail to pay the correct fare face consequences.

So what does this mean for you?

For most people, it just means you should be prepared to produce your proof of payment at any time while riding on the transit system.

But for people who don’t pay their fare, what’s changing are the consequences. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Failure to show a valid proof of payment may result in a $173 fine.
  • If left unpaid, this fine amount escalates over time.
  • Outstanding fines may be sent to a collection agency.
  • ICBC may refuse to issue or renew your driver’s license, or renew your vehicle insurance if you have an outstanding fine.

And if you want to know more about the new legislation, or how to dispute or pay a fine, you can visit the Fare Evasion section of the TransLink website.


16 Comments

  • By ???, August 31, 2012 @ 10:13 am

    I’ve had parking tickets, but have yet to be fined for forgetting to bring my pass.

    How much does the fine escalate? Is it 30% like credit card? Can people pay the fine online? Can we pay the fine with a credit card? Is there a surcharge for using a credit card? Some credit cards offers a cash back program, will they be permitted? How is it different with a debit card?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 31, 2012 @ 10:44 am

    ???: The fines escalate as follows:

    – A $173 fine for the infraction.
    – An unpaid fine escalates to $213 after 180 days and $273 after one year.
    – Outstanding fines may be referred to a collection agency.
    – ICBC may refuse to issue or renew a driver’s licence or vehicle insurance.

    I’ll ask about the rest of your questions!

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, August 31, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    OK, here’s the rest. Fines can be paid online starting Tuesday: a special section of the TL website will go live then, when the legislation comes into effect. Your answers about specific transaction types will likely be included there.

  • By TK, August 31, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    Is fine the same for traveling beyond the valid zone? (zone 1 pass in zone 2 without addfare)

  • By Cliff, September 1, 2012 @ 3:46 am

    How will existing unpaid fines be handled?

  • By Jonny, September 1, 2012 @ 8:54 am

    This doesn’t sound much different than before, but then again I’ve not really had to pay attention to these words of things. What exactly has changed? The fine amount seems the same.

  • By Anonymous, September 2, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

    If Translink was serious about getting people to pay their fair share and not issuing tickets, people would be charged for and issued a 3 zone monthly pass in the event they are found without a valid fair.

  • By Dan, September 4, 2012 @ 9:44 pm

    @Anonymous: What you say makes no sense. How would that be a deterrent or a punishment? Penalties for breaking the law are meant to be punitive, not a convenience.

    Personally I think the fine is too low. In Berlin the fine can go to 400€ depending on circumstances. Of course, there people are able to contest the fines for cases of legitimate lapses or real misunderstandings. There are honest people who missed their stop and travel one stop over the zone line. There are also cases where people forget to buy or switch their passes when the month changes, especially if this happens during the week. When you have a monthly pass and always ride the train, meaning you never pull the pass out of your wallet, you tend to stop thinking about the pass and its expiry date.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, September 10, 2012 @ 8:50 am

    Jonny: What’s different is that the consequences for the fine have gone up. Before there were few consequences if you didn’t pay; now the fine gets bigger as time goes on, collection agencies can get involved, and ICBC can provide other consequences. The fare infraction process is also administered by TransLink now, when before it was administered by the province.

  • By JS, September 18, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    Translink needs to hire more Transit Security for the buses.

  • By Anton Glushkov, December 20, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

    Jhenifer Pabillano I have a question,will icbc be able to refuse license renewal for fines issued well before sept 04/2012. I know that before the new legislation icbc was collecting the fines but had no authority to enforce them, they could only remind you to pay but couldnt make you. So now that legislation kicks in I read that tickets before sept will be considered provincial infractions.and not translink. So if they couldnt force them before can they actualy apply new legislations rules fines riceved prior of the change? Becuse according to the legal advice I got from a lawyer it against the rights to apply new rules to something that have happened well before the rules came into effect…

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, January 15, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

    Hi Anton – I passed your question over to our fare infraction team and here’s the response.

    Anton is correct that the fines issued before September 4, 2012 are Provincial infractions. As such, the Provincial government has the jurisdiction for those tickets and Translink does not have control over the process prior to September 4, 2012. Many provincial and municipal agencies are looking very closely at their uncollected accounts and looking at different ways to enforce and collect these funds. For example the City of Vancouver has recently started using an external collection agency to collect on old infraction tickets. Translink is committed to minimizing fare evasion and will be doing everything in its power to ensure that fare infraction tickets are paid in a timely manner.

  • By Jerry, July 27, 2016 @ 5:27 pm

    I was issued a violation ticket today.
    The transit cop who issued me the ticket failed to ask me to sign the bottom of the ticket.

    My question is where do I stand now with this ticket.
    Is it void ? Do I still dispute it ?
    Somebody please give me some answers. Thanks.

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Buzzer blog » Reminder: new fare evasion penalties go into effect today, September 4, 2012 — October 18, 2012 @ 8:54 am

  2. The Buzzer blog » Fare checks up, infractions down – results of increased fare enforcement — December 18, 2012 @ 9:29 am

  3. The Buzzer blog » On the system – fare checks are up, fare infractions are down: a follow up with Transit Security — February 5, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

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