Fare scofflaws calling to pay fines

Transit Police says phones have lit up since province moved to provide more ticket collection tools

Fare scofflaws calling to pay fines

Transit Police say they’ve been getting plenty of calls from fare evaders wanting to pay off old fines after the province moved to legislate tough new measures to collect unpaid tickets.

The force says its phone lines have been busy since Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom said ICBC will withhold licence and insurance renewals to compel scofflaws to pay their TransLink fare evasion fines.

TransLink will also be empowered to use bill collectors, small claims court or deny transit service, among other options.

“It’s a nice surprise,” Transit Police spokesperson Carol Schinkel said of the response.

Some callers know they have an outstanding ticket and want to pay, she said, while others can’t remember if they paid an old ticket and want to check.

A few others with a stack of unpaid fines who “were concerned they can’t pay for it all” wanted to arrange partial payment for now, Schinkel said.

All the calls are being referred to ICBC, which handles payments and inquiries, at 1-800-950-1498 or at www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/tickets/paying-disputing/paying-violation.

Fine payment information is also on the back of tickets.

Transit Police last year issued 57,000 fare evasion tickets or nearly $10 million worth and 85 per cent of the fines typically go unpaid because there has been no enforcement mechanism before.