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Top 10 fare evaders owe more than $4,000 each

Transit Police issue thousands of fare evasion tickets each year. Most still go unpaid and some drivers tracked by ICBC must now pay thousands of fines or be refused licence and insurance renewals.  - Black Press file photo
Transit Police issue thousands of fare evasion tickets each year. Most still go unpaid and some drivers tracked by ICBC must now pay thousands of fines or be refused licence and insurance renewals.
— image credit: Black Press file photo

An Abbotsford resident with $14,583 in old TransLink fare evasion fines owes more than any other scofflaw now being denied licence and insurance renewals by ICBC.

Data released by the insurance corporation show all of the top 10 transit fine offenders it tracks have at least 35 unpaid tickets issued from 2002-2012 and owe more than $4,000 each. Together, their unpaid fines total $73,000.

Five of the top fare evaders are from Surrey. One is on the hook for 56 unpaid fines totalling $8,418, while the others have 36 to 45 unpaid fines and owe between $4,000 and $6,000.

Three Burnaby residents are on the list. One has 86 fines totalling $11,678, followed by one with 46 fines owing $7,831 and another owing $5,326 for 41 fines.

A New Westminster resident has the 10th highest number of fines – 35 worth $5,800.

ICBC on April 1 began denying auto insurance and driver's licence renewals to motorists with unpaid TransLink tickets issued in 2012 and earlier, in line with provincial legislation passed that year.

A total of 37,000 old unpaid fare evasion tickets worth $5.7 million are now subject to ICBC "refusal to issue" holds.

The identities of the top fare evaders listed by ICBC were withheld.

The ICBC list does not include all fare evaders – it only tracks the ones with active driver's licences.

Others who don't have driver's licences who ride SkyTrain but never pay and ignore tickets may owe even larger amounts.

"We can only play a role in helping to collect this debt where there's an active driver's licence or insurance policy, so that’s all we can report on," ICBC's Adam Grossman said.

There is no amnesty on partial payment of large amounts owed or cap on the maximum ICBC insists is paid before lifting a hold.

"This is provincial government debt but I believe their goal is to recover as much of the outstanding payments as possible," Grossman said.

Old pre-2012 fines that are paid go to the provincial government, not TransLink, while tickets issued after that year are payable to TransLink.

ICBC began sending out warning letters to drivers with unpaid TransLink fines in early March.

TransLink says more than 30 per cent of ticketed fare evaders have paid their fines since the legislation change in 2012, which also gave TransLink authority to use collection agencies, in addition to the ban on ICBC renewals.

That's an improvement from a roughly 15 per cent payment rate previously when Transit Police were issuing tickets that were essentially toothless.

New fare evasion fines start at $173 but climb to $213 after six months and $273 if they're unpaid after a year.

top 10 FARE EVADERS | Create Infographics
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