It's amazing that in 2012 taxi drivers in New South Wales still have to put up with "runners" (fare evasion). The official rule is that we are not allowed to ask for money up-front. We can ask customers to show the money, but we aren't supposed to actually take it in our hand. It's apparent that even some NSW police aren't aware of this. Several years ago I had three girls "do a runner" (yes, they are increasingly becoming females) on me. The fare was $50.00. I saw the unit they walked into, so I called and asked for police assistance. An hour and twenty minutes later, it still hadn't come. I rang three times, and on the third call the officer taking the call asked me: "Why didn't you get the money before you left?" Well, because technically it's illegal, officer, but it makes total sense, doesn't it? Who in their right mind would drive up a fare of $50 not knowing if the customer will pay? But that's how the law currently works in NSW.
When you get on a bus or train, when do you pay? At the destination? Flying interstate? When do you pay? On arrival at the destination airport? When you go to Mc Donalds and order a meal, when do you pay? At the exit? What if you're ten cents short, do you get your meal? The worst fare evasion I've had so far was two in one night, totaling $96.00. Who in their right mind would work for an employer who told them "you might be fully paid this week, or you might be $96.00 short, we're not sure yet"?
Seeing money in someone's wallet isn't good enough either. Do you think that's going to stop them "running"? You'd have to be very naive to believe that. People with hundreds of dollars can still "do the bolt". People don't always do "runners" because they're short of cash, it's just an easy way to save some more money.
What do I call this? I call it consenting to open and blatant workplace abuse on the part of the government. I thought slavery ended two centuries ago? Is that too dramatic a term? What else would you call working for nothing? Charity? I don't mind working for charity, as long as I can pay my bills from the money I earn from my "real job".
As usual, this is all going to fall on deaf government ears, but it was worth a try.