What to do with a Myki fine
Disclaimer: While the author does have a law degree, and this is quite an impressive thing to tell people in social situations, he is not yet (despite what his grandma likes to tell her friends) a lawyer. As such, the following information should not be regarded as legal advice, but rather just as general information… or a self-indulgent rant.
We all remember our first time. I still remember mine like it was yesterday. I felt so awkward and didn’t really know what I was doing. We locked eyes, and I gulped in nervous anticipation. She gently leaned towards me, and ever so calmly asked “Hello Sir. Just doing some random checks today. Do you have your myki with you?”.
At some point in every self-respecting student’s life, they will receive a public transport fine. Think of it as a STD (a Student’s Typical Dilemma) – not that fun, probably a bit irritating, easy to get through carelessness or sheer bad luck, but often treatable and easy to deal with.
When you receive the fine
Stay calm and explain to the ticket inspector the perfectly rational reason why you failed to touch on/don’t have your concession card on you/needed to bring your new puppy on the tram today. As-yet-unconfirmed isolated reports have surfaced of some inspectors as being capable of empathy, so it’s worth a shot. Besides, who could say no to a puppy?
A recent development is the option to pay an on-the-spot fine of $75, which is a significant discount on $232 for fare evasion…. HOWEVER, if you pay on-the-spot, you immediately lose your opportunity to challenge the fine in court. On-the-spot fines are a cheap way to pay your fine, but you need to weigh up whether it’s worth it.
Don’t ignore the fine
Much like the late-submission penalties for that random breadth subject you foolishly enrolled in, unpaid fines quickly rack up to be a lot bigger than they originally were. Whichever way you choose to deal with your fine, make sure you take note of the deadline given on the infringement notice, and deal with it within this time.
Challenging the fine
You have a few options for challenging the fine. You can opt for internal review, which involves sending a letter asking Public Transport Victoria (PTV) to pretty please reconsider the fine in light of your upstanding reputation in your local community, embarrassingly empty bank account/pitiful centrelink payment, and/or the series of unfortunate events that lead to you receiving that fine. Make sure you attach (copies of!) whatever evidence supports your case. It might not work, but you really have nothing to lose at this point.
You also have the option to challenge the legality of the fine in a number of ways, such as it really wasn’t your fault, or there were truly extraordinary circumstances that led you to receive the fine. Sound complicated and confusing? Yep. Luckily there is help available!
See a (free!) lawyer
If you want to challenge a fine through internal review or in court, see a lawyer. Options for some free legal advice include the UMSU Legal Service (third floor, Union House), which is a fantastic free service available to all Melbourne Uni students; your local community legal service; or Victoria Legal Aid.
More information on public transport fines can be found by using your favourite Google-enabled device: search for the Youthlaw website, which is a Melbourne young person’s community legal service, or for Victoria Legal Aid. Both have really practical online resources about how to deal with public transport fines.