[Section 2] Secrets & Tactics Inspectors don’t want you to know

Routes and Stops

Inspector Quotas

The role of the inspector is to ensure that passengers validated their tickets and are well-behaved. It has been confirmed that they do have a strict weekly quota which must be filled. While Yarra Trams officially denies this, testimony from tram inspectors and other evidence seems to indicate that this is very much practiced.

Watch the official news report:


Who They Target

Melbourne Tram Inspectors

To meet their quotas, inspector activity is focused on spots with the highest traffic and fare evasion activity. They are common near stops around universities with large student populations and major railway stations. It would seem that inspectors target younger and poorly-dressed demographics as a form of profiling. It has also been mentioned that they target younger women especially.

One redditor also indicated that they also target asian-decent travellers, and refer to immigrant ID card holders as “boaties”.

Inspectors seem to also have a preference for major stops equipped with higher-grade facilities.

[Conclusions reached from testimony from lawyers & contributors and 7 News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSKFflKkUko]

[Redditor Contribution: http://www.reddit.com/r/melbourne/comments/297afu/7_things_i_learnt_about_ticket_inspectors/]

Streets/Hotspots to Avoid

Elizabeth Street Tram Inspectors

Along Elizabeth street, frequent sightings occur between Little Lonsdale (stop 5: Melbourne Central) and Mcarthur street (stop 14: the end of Melbourne University). Stop 9 on Pelham street (exchange for tram 57/19), stop 7 on Victoria street (for Victoria Market), and stop 5 on Little Lonsdale (for Melbourne Central) are especially well monitored.

Along Swanston street, frequent sightings occur between the Melbourne University stop and Melbourne central. These two stops specifically are well monitored.

While these two streets have the highest concentration of inspector activity, they regularly patrol other routes as well.

[Information from personal experience and interviews of contributors]


Meeting an Inspector

As a commuter, as stated on their website, we have the right to be “treated with respect”. This, however, is highly vague and subjective. As a result, experiences may vary.

[More about inspector code of conduct here: http://ptv.vic.gov.au/getting-around/authorised-officers/]

The Approach

Melbourne Tram Inspectors Waiting

Inspectors have two strategies when entering the tram: we will call this a “covert” entry and a “surround” entry.

A “covert” entry involves inspectors staying just out of sight before boarding. They enter from one exit and make their way through the tram slowly.

A “surround” entry involves inspectors being present at all entrances during tram arrival. They then enter from all sides and make their way towards the middle of the trams.

Inspectors also have the option to stand outside of stops to wait for commuters. These do not board, but stop commuters while they are exiting to check for ticket validity.

Finally, inspectors could also be encountered while inside the tram. Inspectors do not usually sit down unless the tram is virtually empty. They prefer to remain standing while keeping watch for those who do not validate. To remain hidden, inspectors stand near exits on the opposite side either to the middle or back.

[Information obtained from contributor testimonies and personal experience]

The Encounter

Melbourne Tram Inspectors Encounter

The engagement process with a tram inspector is straightforward. They would ask to see your myki individually as the team fans out to target other commuters. They take the myki and put them in the myki checking machine, then either return it to you (if it is valid) or inform you of it’s status.

If the myki has not been validated for whatever reason, they would declare it audibly and stand between you and the door. This prompts other inspectors to come over and assist. Normally, just two would be present while the rest continue checking the rest of the tram. When those are also finished, they will congregate towards your direction.

During this encounter, the primary goal of the inspector is to either obtain payment (since the 2014 introduction of the $75 on-the-spot fines) or obtain contact details. They will send lodge contact details to the Department of Transport, which decides according to the circumstances whether they mail you a fine or not ($212).

[Information obtained from contributor testimonies and personal experience]


Interesting Fact:

Did you know there is an app available for tracking tram inspectors?

While officially intended to help plan journeys (it details high traffic areas and road blocks as well) the Spector App lets users tag inspectors on it’s map for everyone to see. More about it here:



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*Disclaimer:  Use the information provided at your own risk. There is no guarantee of the accuracy of information given, and no responsibility will be taken for consequences of actions taken as a result of reading this article. This information is provided for purely educational purposes.

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