Revenue Protection Officers are the very aptly named officials who board trams and trains at random in Melbourne, requesting that people show their tickets and issueing fines to those without a valid ticket. They usually travel in groups of five or so, and board the tram from all doors at once so that travellers cannot do a runner if they see the officers boarding. The officers are trained (or maybe it's killer instinct*) to target people who would be less likely to have a ticket, such as schoolkids and dodgy folk (which is probably why I have a fine pending as I write this). So there you have it, either you spend upwards of $2.50 every time you travel, or you risk being fined.

It may sound like I'm sore about this system, and in a way I am, but not because I have to pay - I don't mind travelling on busses, where you pay the driver for your ticket; but the system for the trains and especially the trams are monumentally flawed. You see, you cannot use notes in the machines on trams, only coins. If you don't have any coins, that is your problem and you are liable for a $100 fine. What makes matters worse is that there are Tram Attendents who also board randomly to check tickets, but they also sell tickets (at a higher cost) and dispense information. Today I asked an attendent why they didn't make the RP officers attendents instead, and was told that the company (M-Tram) would lose out on profits. At least he was honest.

* Just a joke, folks. Although I would rather be unemployed than to hassle people all day long about tickets.

ponder tells me that the ticket inspectors in London are also called Revenue Protection Officers. Glad it happened post-'77. The Clash's Career Opportunities would've sounded odd.

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