[Qld] Got Fined for Having a Valid Train Ticket

Go Card rules state: Transfer up to 3 times. Max trip 3.5 hours, total journey 6 hours. Continue trip up to 60 mins of last touch off.

So this happened a few days ago.

Instead of paying for two trips on the Gold Coast tram I took a trip from Surfers Paradise to Southport on the tram,touched off then touched on again to continue as I was coming back in 2 hours (within the 3.5 hour trip limit) then when I was done with my stay in Southport I got back on the tram to broadbeach .

My ticket was checked, he said you touched on 3 hours ago in Southport and it only takes 30 minutes to get to Broadbeach and he fined me. I argued with the moron for a bit, told him no way I was handing over my ID. They threatened to call police to arrest me, I was considering just refusing as I was 99.99 % sure I was in the right but I chickend out like a idiot and gave them my I.D. and got the fine.


  • +6 votes

    Nice story.
    Wish it had a happier ending.

  • +4 votes

    Missing crucial detail - what were you fined for?

    • -7 votes

      He claims for not not touching on as I left the tram and came back 2 hours later without touching on again ( but I already touched on when I left , so I could keep the transfer under 60 mins and make the whole journey one paid trip instead of paying for two)

      • +23 votes

        If you don't touch-on/touch-off properly it doesn't matter if you have a valid ticket. Pay up.

        • +2 votes

          If you don't touch-on/touch-off properly it doesn't matter if you DO NOT have a valid ticket.

        • +1 vote

          Was looking for this.

          This also applies in Sydney, I use it all the time in the CBD… not that I have a choice.

          I tap in, get on the train, go to a nearby train station, tap off, do my business. When I tap back on, within 60minutes, it doest start a new trip, it states that I'm on a transfer and not charged extra when I tap off. Noe xtra charge

          I'd imagine if I tapped off on my return trip at a further destination, I'd be charged the difference

      • +32 votes

        The system automatically works out continuations. You need to touch on and touch off every transfer.


        If the transfer wasn't within 60mins, doesn't that mean it doesn't apply for your journey?

  • +17 votes

    TIL that gold coast has trams

    • +4 votes

      Yep, built ostensibly for the Commonwealth Games but they get a lot of use up and down the tourist strip

      • +11 votes

        Also useful for generating fines :]

      • +1 vote

        Stage 2 was built (rushed) for the games. Stage 1 planning was under way long before the games bid was even being considered. Stage 3 is going ahead after the games. The other half a dozen or so stages are still in really early concept stages.

        The games wasn't a catalyst for light rail. Light rail was used as a supportive argument for the bid. The failing road infrastructure unable to support increasing congestion from tourism growth was the catalyst.

    • +5 votes

      An absolute nightmare to be honest. As someone who lives on the gold coast, it causes a bunch of traffic jams

      I don't understand why these idiots who plan these projects don't build underground.

      They can dig 6 stories underground for skyscrapers but can't build a tunnel from a to b

      Everything within surfers is one lane / one way. If one road gets closed you can expect to take 45 minutes to travel 3km ( yes it has happened multiple times)

      In general, Australia has the worst public transport I've ever seen.

      Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan are all examples of how public transport should be implemented. Underground, efficient and cheap.

      • +11 votes

        Because building an underground train line is FAR more expensive than a tram.

        Hong Kong has a population of 7 million, Gold Coast has 0.5 million. Perhaps you can see why Hong Kong may be able to afford a better public transport system! Go to a similar sized town in Malaysia and Japan and you will not most likely not find they have underground trains (not to mention, Japanese having "cheap" trains is highly debatable).


          This is the problem. They take the easy way out. They don't look at the bigger picture

          You clearly don't know anything about city planning.

          Expensive? Yes

          I would rather they spend the extra dollars, plan for the future

          Gold Coasts population will grow. Just look at the number of buildings going up and not to mention its a tourists dream. A constant sea of people

          You can argue this population crap all you want. This is what the politicians do and ruin it for everyone

          Just look at the NBN, it speaks for itself.

  • +2 votes

    no way I was handing over my ID

    I know not what you're asking, random question, does anyone know what you happen if you don't have ID? I imagine not everyone carries ID with them, I know a lot of people who don't (typically people who don't drive).

    • +6 votes

      Trust no one and never give your name, just never give a false name.

    • +1 vote

      Not sure what powers they have.

      You can try walking away. If they physically restrain you, they could get in trouble unless they have the power.

      Usually in most places they will try to block you from leaving or "hold" you (which isn't much if they obey "Let go of me")


        Walking to the other end of a tram won't achieve much.

      • +3 votes

        They have no power, they cannot restrain without QPS. I think it is different in VIC, but on the Gold Coast i always see the common fare evaders just refusing to talk to them and when they get off the tram they just walk away from the ticket checkers.

        • +2 votes

          Largely depends on whether they are private revenue protection staff employed by G:link or TransLink SNOs. SNOs have considerable power:


          Under the acts, SNOs have the power to:

          require customers to produce a valid ticket
          require customers to show evidence of concessional requirement
          require customers to provide information such as name, address, age and evidence of these under certain situations
          require customers to leave public transport infrastructure
          use force to remove a person from public transport infrastructure.
          They're authorised to:

          direct a person to leave or not to enter a public passenger vehicle
          issue warning notices and penalty infringement notices
          detain a person who has committed a detainable offence.
          With additional power to:

          use handcuffs to detain a person
          search a detained person
          take and retain particular articles.

          • +3 votes

            @barcer: OP didn't commit a detainable offence.

            detainable offence means—
            (a) an offence involving assault occasioning bodily harm of a person; or
            (b) an offence involving assault of a person for the purpose of stealing something from the person; or
            (c) an offence against the Criminal Code, chapter 32. Note— The Criminal Code, chapter 32 contains offences relating to rape and sexual assault.; or
            (d) an offence involving wilful damage of property.

            Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) Act 1994


            @barcer: Yeah doesn't sound like they were senior network officers, just g link staff.


            @barcer: Good point. They are in a different uniform to normal TransLink inspectors. How could g link act like a private company and employ their own inspectors?


        I work for a NSW gov't department. We have officers out in the bush that can issue fines. They aren't allowed to physically touch anyone or even attempt to touch anyone (which is why they usually have one NSW Police Officer with them).

        The reason for this is that one of them lunged at a mountain bike rider in an attempt to detain him and "caused him to crash" which resulted in a court case.

        So if you are a mountain bike rider on restricted state land and can't see a police officer then don't engage and keep on riding.

        I assume the "don't touch" extends to other enforcement officers that aren't police.

    • +1 vote

      In my case I was with a friend when I was fined. When I told them I had no ID, they quickly separated us, to ask individually what my name and address were. This was in the bad ol' days of the CityRail Transit Officers (Sydney).

  • -1 vote

    I understand why you chickened out and handed over your ID, but I also understand that you were in the right and at most were guilty of using a legal loophole. Even that's a stretch… If it were me I would have let the police arrive and made a scene of the whole thing proving I had done nothing illegal, but that's not very normal or productive.
    Is there anyway you can contest the fine? It doesn't seem like you did anything illegal. I could be wrong I'm not from Qld but you are and if you haven't broken the law I don't think you should pay.


      Just contest it, the officers assumption it took you too long to travel a short distance will not stack up in court, the court is about law, not about someones assumption. From your story it seems you have followed the rules AFAIK.

      • +7 votes

        OP failed to tap-on/tap-off correctly and that's what he was fined for.

        • -1 vote

          I think if you read it again the fare is still in TAP ON phase. OP didnt TAP OFF from 3 hours previously.

          • +11 votes

            @tonsta: He tapped on and then left without travelling.
            Then reboarded and didn't tap at all.
            Both of these are things you're not meant to do.

            • -6 votes

              @ssquid: No one cares about what you’re meant to do. They care about the law.

              OP could be sitting at the station for three hours and it’s no ones business why.

              He didn’t break the rules of the ticket, he was illegally fined.

            • +1 vote

              @ssquid: "not meant to" is not a reason to get a fine. OP seems to be within the rules imho.

              • +2 votes

                @Skexis: I guess I should have added "according to the Transport Operations (Passenger Transport) Act of 1994" to make it clear that I was referencing the appropriate law. OP was not within the rules and knew it ("Instead of paying for two trips…").

  • +5 votes

    Looks like a clear matter to contest the fine, since you were in the right.

    • +6 votes

      Yup tick the 'see you in court, bastards' options and send it in.

      • +9 votes

        It would be funny if that really was an option - very Australian.

      • +7 votes

        Then OP goes to court and explains how he was trying to scam two trips for the price of one, great plan.


          Beats me, OP sounded like he knew what he was talking about. If true then he has a case.

          • +5 votes

            @EightImmortals: Or rather say, he thought it was normal practice to roll small trips into one large trip.
            Say something along the lines of the "Go Cards promote this, they want people to use more public transport don't they?".

            Not to mention that this was a legitimate use case years ago, when you bought a Return Ticket, it was actually a "Day Ticket" where you can travel within those zones (eg Zone 3 - 6) using any public transport, as many times as possible, throughout the whole day.

            You could argue that the new system makes it less favourable to use public transport, and instead use a private car, which then has a toll on Australia's Green Emissions.

  • +2 votes

    he said you touched on 3 hours ago in Southport and it only takes 30 mins to get to broadbeach and he fined me.)

    I'm not familiar with Qld public transport. OP had a 3.5hr ticket and decided to use 3hr of it. How is it that the inspector may issue a fine when there is enough time left on the ticket to cover the trip?

    Could someone please explain?


      The train network is quite large so will cover the possibility off someone travelling from the gold coast to caboolture which would be 2.5Hrs train travel plus time spent transferring between trains and waiting at the station. The intention isn't to allow for 3 Hrs of travel it's just how the system is designed so it doesn't cut out halfway through a legitimate journey.

      OP here has found a loop hole since the Tram stations allow you to touch on and then leave. First offence should have just been a warning, not to mention there is a possibility OP was just waiting to meet a really annoying friend at the station before travelling, paying too much attention to their phone to get on the tram or missed their stop multiple times.

      • +1 vote

        Is there a legal requirement for passengers to take the shortest path to their destination or not spend any time on the platform?

        • +10 votes

          No, but there is a stipulation that the time between touch-off/touch-on is within 60 minutes. OP exploited this by touching on and then buggering off for two hours. The inspector knew what he was up to because he saw him get on the tram without touching on (which is an offence regardless of whether you have a valid ticket).

          • -3 votes

            @ssquid: The stipulation is to touch on. He did. There is no stipulation on how you’re supposed to walk.

            When he entered, he DID touch on. Three hours ago.

            I get people are mad that he found a loophole, but that’s how loopholes work.

  • +2 votes

    Was it more than 60mins after the last touch off?

  • +1 vote

    Is there any written rule that says your journey time has to match the scheduled running times of the trams? If that was the case down here in Shitney we'd get fined all the time as the buses / trains are often (very) late.

    I'd contest it. The ticket inspectors are like little Hitlers and not the brightest sparks and can easily put their own spin on the rules. If you just pay it then you are in their database as a fare evader and will cop it worse next time.

  • +1 vote

    I think you'll find that if you go from A to B, and then back from B to A you don't actually get the return for free as it isn't a "transfer" in the eyes of translink. I'm also not sure why you wouldn't just touch on before you started your trip back anyway, not 2 hours earlier.

    • +19 votes

      If the time between touch-off/touch-on is more than 60 minutes it counts as a different trip. OP knew he was going to be away for longer (2 hours) so he cheated and got caught out.


      Return trips are always counted as a "transfer" if you use a Go-Card - even if you pick the exact same service going back in the opposite direction.

  • +7 votes

    You wrote "continue trip up to 60 mins of last touch off"

    Then you wrote "then touched on again to continue as I was coming back in 2 hours"

    Is this the problem?

  • +1 vote

    Why did you 'touch on' when you left the station instead of doing that when you came back to actually get on the train?

    Were you trying to scam off-peak fares?

  • +9 votes

    You knew you were cheating the system. You did NOT have a valid ticket as you did NOT touch on at the start of your second journey. Yes, you had two journeys.

  • +18 votes

    I think you should just pay the fine. You just said "Instead of paying for two trips…", so this tells me that you knew that you are supposed to pay for two trips since you are effectively taking two trips. You gambled by gaming the system, and got caught.

    That being said, why didn't you just not touch off when you leave the station in the first place, and touch off and on again when you come back to take your return trip?

  • +4 votes

    So you tapped off and tapped back on immediately regardless of the fact that you weren't travelling for 2 hours? Why? It sounds like you are trying to cheat.

  • +6 votes

    um yeah you were in the wrong. you can't touch on get off and then just jump on without touching on later doesn't work like that


    Glad we don't have to touch on/off here in SA

      • +7 votes

        It's a very good way to run a mass public transport system, is common all around the world and more and more places are moving towards it.

        I've never experienced a "problem" using it, and the only reason the OP experienced a problem was because they were trying to scam the system. Legitimate users would never have this issue.

        • +1 vote

          I wasn't referring to OP. They did the wrong thing and were rightly fined.

          The best systems I've used around the world require you to touch on but there's no need to touch off.

  • +12 votes

    Max trip 3.5 hours

    A trip is one way, not ROUND TRIP. ie you get on, and when you get off, that is your TRIP.

    You even agree this is the case

    Instead of paying for two trips


    My ticket was checked, he said you touched on 3 hours ago in Southport and it only takes 30 minutes to get to Broadbeach and he fined me.

    Which is correct

    I argued with the moron for a bit
    I was 99.99 % sure I was in the right

    Well the moron was you, not him and you are 100% wrong.

    • +1 vote

      i understand your logic, and you are right.
      OP wanted to travel a return trip on a single trip and got caught out.

  • +2 votes

    This is just an idea and probably not the best idea but I thought I would put it out there:
    Don't touch off at Southport when you first get/leave there. Instead go do your stuff at Southport then when you're ready to go back to Surfers Paradise you can touch off and then touch on (at the same time at Southport).

    • +2 votes

      Or just touch on when you get on, then touch off when you get off, like you're supposed to.

    • +1 vote

      This order of operations seems far less likely to draw attention from the ticket inspector. Your tap on would then be at a sensible time compared to the inspectors check.

      What is the wording of the offence on the ticket? If the wording is "no valid ticket" or similar you might be in the clear. Law is precise. Even if you did commit an offence (fail to tap on/off when leaving station) you may be not guilty of the thing on your ticket.


    From my experience, it seems that you need to tap everytime you get on and off unless going to a new train. It is indeed 3.5 hours, but every tap off will extend that until the last tap. It will all count as a continuation pass. Every trip under a continuation journey will cost you about 10c or so each way, so it's not bad. However if you are swapping trains, you don't need to tap off until your last station. (You always need to touch off a bus, but in your situation no busses were involved)

    An example would be, catching a bus, then a train, and then another train. Going to a shop then return.

    1. Touch on bus
    2. Touch off bus at first station
    3. Touch on at train station
    4. Catch train to 2nd train station (Don't need to tap off)
    5. Catch 2nd train at the 2nd station (Still don't need to tap off)
    6. Arrive at final station by train and touch off.
    7. Go to shops.
    8. Touch on again. (If you take less than 3.5 hours at the shops and your next touch on you should be still under the continuation pass)
    9. Catch first train to 2nd station (no touch off)
    10. Catch final train to final station and touch off.
    11. Catch bus, tapping on.
    12. Get off bus and tap off.

    So technically you weren't doing a one way journey. You were going there and back. You should have tapped off and then back on, but the system would have put you on the continuation pass. I see your point of view, but in translink's point of view, you got on the trains for one journey. Then decided to go home for "free". That last trip wouldn't have cost you must at all though if you were to tap off and on. Usually costs me an extra 10c or so.

    • +1 vote

      I think 8. has to be less than 1 hour for a continuation


        You might be right. Haven't exactly tested how it works, but I originally thought its 3.5 hours on the last tap, but it might be an hour or so on the last tap. There has been days where I have gone backwards and forth on busses and its given me a continuation of a period of a total of 5 hours.


      60min you have touch off it be a new trip.

  • +26 votes

    So to make this clear …

    1. You touched on at Surfers Paradise
    2. You travelled to Southport
    3. You touched off at Southport
    4. You immediately touched back on at Southport
    5. You stayed at Southport for about 2 hours
    6. You got back on the tram at Southport (no doubt not touching on/off)
    7. You got fined somewhere along the way back to Broadbeach

    The fare rules say that there can be no more than 60 minutes between touch off and next touch on. You thought you'd get around this by your action at step 4 above. You did this because you knew you would be at Southport for more than 60 minutes. You state that "instead of paying for two trips on the Gold Coast tram" you did what you did.

    What part of all of this makes you think you weren't attempting to evade paying your fare?

    • +1 vote

      unfortunately, it's a perfectly legal loophole.
      been there, done that (not exactly anyway).

      I used to not touch off. Come back to the station when done, touch off, walk to the next machine and touch on.
      When officers checked my tickets they would give me looks, and explain that what I did is looked down upon, but still within the law.
      (Of course I was polite to them).

      "I forgot to touch off, but I've had a legal ticket the whole way though"

  • +3 votes

    How much is the fine?


    Your best bet is to write a letter and ask for leniency imo.

    However, if you have been pulled up for this before and received a warning, you won't get any leniency.

    • -1 vote

      Explain you are a mystery shopper, and part of your assignment was to test their staff and how they would react to an agressive situation ect. Ask the fine be waved as you were just doing your job.

      Next make a mystery shopper page, link your url to them, happy days.

  • +4 votes

    That title is misleading. You got fined despite having a valid ticket, not for having a valid ticket.

  • +2 votes

    OP username checks out

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