My earlier guide to fare evading involved fare evasion on trams. Since moving house though, I've been catching the bus to and from work, and this has forced me to update my modus operandi.
At first the bus seemed far more expensive than the tram. I had to validate every time and could only save money by buying a weekly concession ticket, secure in the knowledge that the drivers would never check my concession card – or lack thereof.
Luckily the Victorian Government is the fare evader’s friend. At vast expense they have installed the Myki touch-card system. This new technology means fare evasion is, once more, a gentlemen’s sport.
Bus-based Myki fare evasion can be played at one of three levels. You may incorporate the skills you have developed in the lower levels when playing at the higher.
Level 1 (the ‘Double-Blind’): Simply have on your person a Myki card and a Metcard. Both systems are notoriously unreliable and at least twice a week you will be able to walk straight on with an apologetic smile and rueful wave of the offending card, as you are unable to validate it at the red-lit machine.
Level 2 (the ‘Swagger’): Brazenly step on the bus and wave your Myki in an ineffective manner across the scanner. Swiping quickly, or closer to the display, rather than the actual sensor area, means that most often you won’t be charged. By placing your body between the reader and driver, thereby obstructing the driver’s view, you can usually walk straight on and take your seat. Occasionally the driver may be roused from their torpidity and you will have to swipe properly or, if the scanner is facing towards the back of the bus, endure the beady eyes of fellow passengers.
Level 3 (the ‘le Carre’): For over twelve months the ‘Swagger’ was all I needed. It wasn’t great, but it allowed me to dodge 60-70% of the fares I would otherwise have paid. Then Myki upped the ante and I was forced to a new level of deviousness, a level where I now manage to avoid paying anything at all for public transport.
One morning I noticed that the ‘beep’ sound that occurred when a Myki was correctly swiped was suddenly much louder. The ‘Swagger’ was still good, but it was increasingly obvious that I wasn’t paying. Luckily there are a number of videos on YouTube where people have recorded themselves using a Myki card. By downloading one of these, then editing it into an mp3 file I was able to put the sound of a ‘successful touch-on’ on my phone. Now, when I get on the bus I simply hold my phone and Myki together, wave the card near the reader and play the sound file. Perfection.
Catching the bus