I felt I had to protect my child from inspectors

I felt I had to protect my child from inspectors

MYKI Why I had to protect my child from inspectors This week my 13-year-old daughter and I had to make a dash for the train. As we raced through the open barriers, I heard the “blip blip” sound of success as I touched on. However, as my daughter raced through I heard the very soft groan the myki machine emits of an unsuccessful touch on.Unfortunately, this meant I felt the need to accompany her all the way to her station – not because she could not explain to Metro staff what had happened, but because I did not want her interacting with “authorised officers” who might be on duty. My default thought was that she would be intimidated, fined and in tears, rather than dealt with sensibly . Illustration: Andrew Dyson The city stations have barriers which stop people from getting through if they have not touched on successfully. Why can’t people be allowed to touch on again and be on their way? Those who travel without a myki or with an incorrect concession card can line up at the inspector’s window and be dealt with accordingly. Gathering at the ticket gates like a scrum of intimidating thugs is not a great look. Why should Victorians have to put up with this heavy-handed enforcement of a substandard system? It is such a shame that I feel the need to protect my child from myki inspectors, but that is the sad reality.Matthew McRobbie, Mont AlbertFalse premise that we’re all evaders at heart I read about Emily Day’s experience and the reaction of ticket inspectors with disappointment but no surprise. I have travelled on mass transit systems in Britain, the United States, Europe and Asia. What makes Melbourne’s system stand out is that it is predicated on the assumption that passengers are trying to defraud it. I am unaware of any other system in the world that has this as its starting premise. Perhaps revisiting this assumption would be the best way to fix what is clearly an unfriendly system. A simple way to validate this is to look at the advertising for systems such as London’s Tube, the Paris and Seoul Metros, San Francisco’s BART, and more: the advertising is helpful, supportive and describes what to do. The advertising for the Melbourne ticketing system? “Don’t fare evade: you’ll be caught”. Why is this? Maybe it is our convict heritage.Paul Edwards, Fitzroy North

Towards a cheap, user-friendly system The mystery is two-fold: why myki in the first place and why was the contract extended? For a planned visit to Sydney, it took me five minutes to order an OPAL card online, with no cost for the card itself which was posted to me, and no requirement to part with money for fares at that stage. Interstate and overseas visitors to Victoria must go through a more complex and costly process, as they need to purchase a myki ticket in addition to fares. OPAL handles a more complex situation than myki as it covers trains, buses, trams and ferries. The fares are cheaper than here. For example, seniors are charged a maximum of $2.50 per day, regardless of the transport used, and can travel to Newcastle, Goulburn and the Blue Mountains for that daily maximum. Something has been wrong with Victoria’s political negotiators over the years.Ray Brown, SeymourIt’s simple: don’t dodge fares and you’ll be OK If you have a valid ticket, inspectors will not trouble you, just like it was back in the 1950s when “checkers” boarded the train on my way to uni. Fare evaders were caught back then as they should be now. Complaints about myki have replaced complaining about Melbourne’s weather as the communal whinge.Leo Gamble, MentoneTaxis, learn to compete Why is the Victorian government proposing to tax consumers so it can compensate existing taxi drivers and fund a $378million buy-back scheme because of competition in the industry ? If I buy a fast-food franchise and someone opens a cafe down the road, will the government compensate me $100,000? I wish. The figures bandied around for the transfer of a taxi licence represent the value paid for a business that operated in a monopolised industry. The more astute operators   sold their businesses before market conditions changed.  The value they received for selling an asset did not go to the government. Nor did the new owner pay the government for the right to operate.Some taxi operators are proud of their business and have loyal customers that appreciate an excellent experience.  Unfortunately, the industry has been tarnished by abysmal service offered by many owners who have not cared about anything except their guaranteed return on investment. Taxis need to compete like everyone else in business. Differentiate, leverage off an established brand and capitalise on the benefits of the taxi booking system. That is what smart operators are doing.Greg Winnett, CamberwellA fan’s shameful act No, Tim Doutre , I do not feel overly sorry for the woman who threw a banana at Adelaide Crows player Eddie Betts. She packs a banana, saves it for most of the game and then, in a fit of pique, throws it at an Indigenous player. Do you believe in coincidences, too? Sports people only want to be judged by their deeds on the field – and, as Martin Luther King said, by the content of their character. The action was a disgrace, unworthy of our great game and all who play it and support it.Ray Cornelius, FootscraySocial media’s venom Tim Doutre, maybe we should start calling social media “the anti-social media”.  This might better reflect the way in which the people you describe use it.Tony Healy, Balwyn NorthAn act of frustration? Is there a chance that the woman who threw the banana at Eddie Betts just happened to have it in her bag and acted out of frustration at his baiting of the crowd?It is so easy to call the “race card” and the woman would be forced to agree to comply with the political right of society.Suzana Talevski, RichmondThe path to success From Congo’s civil war to a refugee camp in Tanzania and now a new life in Australia, working as a registered nurse, Mlisho Karega’s story is inspiring. Good on him for his persistence in pursuing his dreams. However, it is importance to recognise the role of preparatory courses, such as certificate IV in health science foundations, that assist people like Mlisho to complete their tertiary studies. The basic skills and education provided cannot be underestimated. However, generally students have to pay fees for these courses. One would have to wonder why they are not regarded as “foundation courses”, which are fully funded by the Commonwealth, or why they do not attract VET fee help when they do so much good.Gabriella Pretto, FlemingtonA very cunning plan Ross Gittins is right on the money in pointing out the fallacy propagated by politicians that having debt is inherently bad . Why do politicians and the ruling class in general continue to tell this lie? The answer: it is part of the overarching cunning plan the neoliberals have to transfer public utilities and services to the private sector. Mission accomplished.Jeff Langdon, SmythesdaleA matter of morality Ross Gittins continues to emphasise the importance of public expenditure to meet the needs of “younger Australians, future generations”. I am not sure that I trust the same government which is complicit with child abuse in offshore detention centres to look after our children. That surely shows a lack of moral care.Zianna Fuad, ThornburyFollow people’s wishes We can argue the case for and against a plebiscite on same-sex marriage until the cows come home. However, the Coalition won that argument by including the plebiscite in its election platform and then by winning the election. A more relevant and practical issue is whether the government and the Parliament will listen to the people and abide by the plebiscite’s outcome.Brendan O’Farrell, BrunswickIn support of Boomer A long-time Collingwood member, I am disgusted at North Melbourne Football Club’s disgraceful  behaviour towards Brent Harvey: telling the world that his services are no longer required. Surely a player with such a brilliant record as Boomer deserves respect and consideration. He should have been taken aside and gently told his career was over. This would have allowed him to announce that he had decided to hang up his boots.I am reminded of Carlton’s disrespectful treatment of Mick Malthouse just after he broke the decades-old coaching record. I hope never to witness the Magpies treating a great champion in such a way.Carl Keeney, Sunshine NorthEasy? You’re joking I was heartened to read your editorial on teachers’ pay and conditions , but disheartened to read Al Morris’ comments . I am a highly experienced teacher near retirement age, but as a single parent for all of my working life, I cannot afford to retire. I teach at a government school, where staff are dedicated and students are successful 21st century learners. I have held leading teacher positions, but there are only so many of these to go around. In circumstances such as returning after leave, many of us find ourselves unable to access leading teacher positions and higher salaries, and stay on a ceiling reached long ago. Every one of the five classes I teach has 26 students, including my year12 class. On average I would easily work a 50-hour week, including nights and weekends. Our conditions cite a 38-hour week, which in itself is laughable. Al Morris, you have no idea.Patsy McHugh, Frankston South

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