Vol 11, Issue 1
With Myki fare prices going up and the availability of concession fares for post-graduate students still elusive, I thought it was time to examine the behavioural practices of our city’s unique breed of public transport ticket inspectors.
These holidays I’ve been on a fantastic journey up tramways and down train lines, documenting - in all its splendour and complexity - the Myki Inspector. I hope that this guide will inspire law students to get to know Myki Inspectors in their natural habitat, so that they too may observe these intriguing creatures.
Firstly, it must be noted that Myki Inspectors are pack animals, forming an ‘infringement’ or a ‘harassment’ of inspectors when observed in groups. In the early days of their existence, they would exhibit outstanding displays incorporating matching Hawaiian shirts. Today, they have evolved to blend with the public, partly to better stalk their prey and partly to look slightly less ridiculous. Nonetheless, as a cohesive herd, ticket inspectors continue to roam in matching gear, making them easy for a dedicated people watcher to spot.
Most often, Myki Inspectors wear uniform faux flak vests and little sheriff’s badges. These are designed to instil respect for these majestic beasts and certainly not to intimidate commuters. Plain-clothes inspectors are also frequently sighted, though often too late. For a person keen to spy a plain-clothes inspector in their natural habitat, the following guide is offered:
Myki Inspectors mostly travel in multiples of two.
This is to ensure they don’t get lonely on their migratory paths along tram and train lines. It is a rare treat to see a fully-fledged ticket inspector and its juvenile apprentice side by side. You may be lucky enough to see the inspector’s inexperienced protégée cock up their lines spectacularly and fumble with their Myki checker.
Myki Inspectors travel in complementary pairs.
Most common is the Passive Aggressive / Overtly Aggressive pair. At times, they may be joined by a rare but reportedly existent, Reasonable Inspector. The aggressive inspector will have the demeanour and biceps of a failed bouncer, while its passive aggressive counterpart will exhibit perennially pursed lips and spectacles. These pairs are unpredictable, ought not to be taunted and all experts warn against rolling one’s eyes in their presence. They have been known to attack.
Myki Inspectors bunch close together
They gather at the entrance of the tram or train stop for warmth, but disperse in order to board at different doors of the carriage so that they can more effectively greet travellers. Clearly, they are a social species. For some reason, they shun the back door of large trams, thus missing the opportunity to greet passengers debarking from that exit.
Myki Inspectors often wear fanny packs.
These are also referred to as “bum bags” by people (mostly Myki Inspectors) who feel uncomfortable about admitting to wearing a fanny pack. Ticket inspectors frequently adorn themselves in this manner to effectively carry their Myki checkers. It is not a means of hiding them at all.
Myki Inspectors frequently wear matching bulky hoodies.
Hoodies obscure inspectors’ Myki checkers, which are usually attached to the back of their belt. The fact that this conceals the checker and their identification badges is definitely, absolutely, not intentional. The hoody is three sizes too big because the ticket inspector is cold. Poor circulation amongst vulnerable members of the species should not be mocked.
Myki Inspectors wear sunglasses whether or not it is sunny.
Myki inspectors are sensitive to sunlight. It is categorically not the intention of inspectors to make commuters feel uncomfortable by preventing them from making eye contact with the person to whom they are speaking.
Finally, despite their sensitivity to sunlight, Myki Inspectors are largely diurnal.
Ticket inspectors are less frequently observed on trams or trains after 8:30pm, but adore the morning rush hour. They can often be seen frolicking on train platforms, or progressing systematically through train carriages in order to deliver their morning greeting.
If you are keen to join like-minded Melbournians in their attempts to chronicle the movements and behaviours of this fascinating species, join this Facebook group: Where Are Our Mates, Melbourne’s PT Wardens, Today?
In the meantime, always have your Myki topped up and validated. If you have been treated unfairly or believe a mistake has been made, contest the fine yourself or seek legal advice.
Alice Kennedy is a Third-Year JD student and the Layout Editor of De Minimis. This article was written in her personal capacity.
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