Monday, August 29, 2011

How to avoid a Cityrail fine if you've forgotten to buy a ticket before boarding.

So most of us who catch the train have forgotten to buy a ticket before getting on once or twice. Personally I think I'm now up to about 8-10 trips where I've forgotten to buy a ticket.

The first time I forgot to buy a ticket I panicked. I reached Town Hall station where I departed the train. I was seriously shitting myself. I thought the best thing to do would be to simply explain myself to a Transit Officer. This turned out to be a mistake he told me that I now need to give him my full name and address and "You may receive a ticket in the mail". Lucky for me in this situation I never did receive that ticket in the mail. Phew.

I thought to myself lesson learned. Never forget to buy a ticket, Yeah right. As above I've forgotten to buy a  ticket about 8-10 times now. So i've learned a thing or two about what to do to make sure you don't get a fine for getting a ticket.

1. Don't Panic. You are human like the rest of us. If there are no Transit Officers on the train you're still going to be OK. Keep Calm, let's do a little social engineering to get out.

2. Don't get off the train at any of the main CBD stations (Town Hall, Central, Wynyard or Martin Place). the reason for this is Transit Officers frequently target these stations and will be on the look out to check your ticket. Aim to get off at a station that are frequently unattended or manned with skeleton staff (Museum or St James). Personally I would aim to get off at Museum as it has 2 exits and often the exit that heads towards the city doesn't have anyone manning the gates.

3. Target Cityrail Staff not Transit officers to plead your case. Transit Officers do have unofficial quota's to meet and they will most often or not send you a fine in the mail for "travelling without possession of a valid ticket". Cityrail Staff  have no power to fine anyone, often they just want your problem out of their face.

4. Be direct and explain yourself like so "I'm sorry, I forgot to buy my ticket before getting on my train this morning. Can you please let me through so I can go and buy a ticket now?" Avoid  explaining your life story and wasting Citryrail Staff's time the goal is  for you to be through that gate a quick as possible. 

5. Catch a train to a less busy station. If you see Transit officers manning the exit gates move to go back down to the platform and catch the next train to the next station and try again. Beware though if you quickly turn around and go back  you may attract the attention of the Transit Officers (hopefully they will be to busy checking tickets to notice you).

6. Have some evidence that you a regular train commuter. IE  a few old train tickets may help you prove your case (It won't get you off that fine though if your pleading your case to a Transit Officer).

7. Be well dressed. Transit Officers are looking for that easy ticket. So if you're wearing a suit you may be better off. You'll look more like a typical city commuter if your are well dressed as compared to if you were wearing your tracky-dacks.

8. Take a look around, sometimes people drop valid tickets on the station floor. You might get lucky. I use to place my valid tickets in the crevice of  windows so  that anyone else could use them after i'd finished with them. 

9. Don't Panic.. I know I've already mentioned this but it's important.. keep calm. You are after all only human. If you do get a fine don't bitch about it, pay it, accept you a human, move on. 


  1. Wouldn't you know it... 2 days after posting this Transits start and operation at St James...

  2. I too have forgotten to purchase a ticket on off occasions. I immediately go to the ticket window at my destination station. I tell them "I boarded at (insert station where you boarded) and forgot to buy a ticket. Can I please purchase a retrospective ticket from there to here." The person manning the ticket window will sell you a ticket with the details you have requested. This is a valid ticket and you can use this as evidence in court as not only proof of a valid ticket (given you have been fined with 'travelling on train without valid ticket'), but also evidence of good character.