Melbourne Tram Inspector Busted for Calling Woman He Fined
Leo Ryan: Melbourne Tram Ticket Inspector Faces Demotion for Calling Woman after Fining Her
Melbourne tram ticket inspector Leo Ryan faces demotion after making private phone calls to a woman to whom he issued a fine for not having a valid ticket.
This is pretty cheeky, because the fines ordered by Yarra Trams are no joke: $180, and it's virtually (but not entirely) impossible to talk your way out of it. The ticket inspectors are technically called "revenue protection officers"- the State of Victoria actually collects the fines.
Welcome to Melbourne: Carry Lots of Change
Melbourne's trams are accessed with single use tickets, multi-use Metcards, or RFID-enabled myki cards. Note that you can't get myki cards at most of the places where Metcards are sold; I was basically told to steal a ride on a tram to the nearest station in order to buy mine. I tried 11 different shops before going to a railway station.
Commuters enter the tram to buy a ticket onboard via a machine placed in the middle of the tram. These machines take neither cards nor notes, so, if you want that daily pass, you better have $11 in change.
All this is to set up our story, which involves an apparently-lovestruck tram ticket inspector and a most-likely-annoyed commuter who just got fined for traveling without a valid ticket.
Leo Ryan took the passenger's business card as proof of identity, and later (as per his own admission) called her more than once. Again, this is a passenger who was just given a $180 fine, only to have the guy who wrote the ticket ring her up while she was at work.
Former Yarra Trams revenue protection officer Leo Ryan and a colleague fined the woman on April 14 for travelling on a tram without a valid ticket, taking her business card as proof of identity. Mr Ryan admits he phoned the woman at her work twice and said he wanted to ask for advice about an SLR camera he had just bought.
Ryan's excuse for calling the woman just doesn't pass the sniff test. I don't believe that he would have called her unless he had a more compelling reason: surely he's heard of CNET.
He has moxie, I'll give him that.
Whatever the motivation, demotion may be a best-case scenario: Leo Ryan is lucky he wasn't fired. Yarra Trams is a private consortium that runs the network on behalf of the State of Victoria; after the gong show that was the myki rollout*, Yarra Trams does not need any more negative public exposure.
(* Note: I've met a few people who work for Yarra Trams in various managerial and operational levels, and found them to be both knowledgeable and passionate. However, it's a big company with a big job; and it inherited some big, big problems. If they spent the money to bring back conductors instead of implement an RFID system, this story would not have taken place.)
(Another note: I adore the Melbourne trams, and negative stories about them upset me on a personal level.)