By Tom Bannister
Video footage has appeared online showing 21 people fare-dodging in just 90 seconds at the entrance of one Shanghai metro station. The video was taken in Longyang statation by a local resident and shows the 21 offenders ducking and jumping over ticket barriers. It has renewed debate about the widespread problem of fare-dodging and revitalised campaigns to target offenders.
The issue is certainly nothing new. Millions of people ride the subway everyday and the Global Times estimates that fare-doders cost the company 11,000 yuan ($1,769) a day. Last year the operators of the metro, Shanghai Shentong Metro Group, caught 202,575 fare dodgers, issuing them fines that totalled 476,742 yuan ($76,614). During the Spring festival period, the massive increase in passengers using the subway accentuates the problem further.
To kick-start the campaign in the wake of the online footage, a large operation occurred last Tuesday when the subway company sent 40 plain-clothes employees to pose as passengers. In the space of just one and a half hours, from 7.30am to 9.00am, the undercover attendants caught 128 fare-dodgers, 42 young people using senior citizen passes and two with fake passes. These offenders were issued fines that totalled 4,354 yuan.
So far the campaign has been limited to larger stations but the metro operator plans to broaden it to encompass all of the city’s stations by early February.
The original video footage is below: