A modified model to curb fare evasion and enforce compliance: Empirical evidence and implications
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Fare evasion is a major problem for transit companies due to lost fare revenues and damage to their corporate images. Therefore, the establishment and proper management of ticket inspection teams deployed to tackle fare dodgers is highly important and represents a severe challenge. In this paper, an existent profit maximization model for estimating the optimum level of inspection has been extended, calibrated, and tested in a real case, using data available from an Italian transit operator, resulting from 98 days of checks and 3659 completed on-board interviews. Given the current network-wide inspection level per single verifier, and considering the level of fines currently applied, the optimal value of the total inspection rate is found to amount to 4.5%. The model provides empirical evidence towards understanding the fare evasion problem, besides highlighting the need for collaboration with the managers of the transit company. An overview of the manipulation of some control variables related to risk perception and the main implications of the findings are presented to transport companies using “honour” ticketing systems.