Local's public transport rant divides opinion: 'Absolutely pathetic'

Victoria transport officers are accused of 'targeting' tourists outside the South Melbourne Market - but many Aussies say they were just doing their job.

Left, Melbourne public transport officers allegedly fining tourists. Right, a tram on a road.
A Melbourne local claims they saw transport officers 'targeting' and fining tourists outside the South Melbourne Market on Friday. Source: Reddit/AAP

A Melbourne resident’s rant about public transport officers allegedly “targeting tourists” in a busy area of the city has sparked a heated debate online.

The local slammed authorities stationed outside the South Melbourne Market for supposedly confronting “confused” visitors trying to wrangle their Myki card — the payment system for light rails and trains in Victoria.

“Absolutely pathetic,” they said of the alleged behaviour. “It’s a known ‘touristy’ spot — particularly on Friday mornings. What a horrible impression it’ll leave.”

A photo included in the Reddit post shows a group of what appears to be at least four transport officers handing out fines to a handful of commuters.

In just 24 hours, the social media post has garnered thousands of reactions from other Melburnians, many of which agreed that they had seen or personally encountered a similar situation.

“Officers act tough with tourists and international students…” one person commented.

A general view of the exterior of the South Melbourne Market in Melbourne.
The South Melbourne Market is especially popular among tourists. Source: AAP

“If they actually want people to abide by the rules then tourists are the exact group of people that are perfect for a warning. Instead they’ll just bill as much as they can,” another claimed.

“They should be welcoming to tourists, not tempting them to tell all their friends that Melbourne sucked,” someone else said.

However, numerous other Aussies argued that the officers were simply doing their job. “Just because someone got fined doesn’t mean they were targeted,” one local stated.

“You are required to have a valid ticket to ride public transport. Getting checked and fined for not having one is a relatively common thing in most public transport networks around the planet,” another pointed out.

“Their job is to make sure the people who are using a paid service are actually paying for it. Is the issue that they may not understand this? If so, then ignorance of the rules is not a viable excuse for a lot of other things in this country, so why should it be one here?” a third person said.

Yahoo News Australia has contacted Public Transport Victoria for comment.

Last year, it was announced Victoria’s pubic transport system will be revamped so commuters can use their smartphone or credit card to tap on and off. The technology, which is already in use in NSW and is being trialled in South Australia, is being brought in under the new operator of Myki.

Trials began this year, but it will take two years to roll out the change across all services.

“For the past 16 years, we have had a card-based ticketing system under myki. We will now reach the 21st century with account-based ticketing,” Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll told The ABC at the time.