During our time in Melbourne, I travelled to work each day from the suburb of Balaclava, where we lived, in to Flinders Street Station in the centre of the city, then by tram up to Fitzroy where I worked.

In those days, the transport system used tickets called the Inner Travelcard, printed on yellow cardboard and checked by ticket inspectors who clicked a notch out of the day’s date with a hand-held punch. I quickly worked out a money-saving scam whereby I spliced a small billet of yellow cardboard, with the correct date number on it, cut from an old, disused ticket, into the gap made by the ticket inspector’s hole punch, then cut out a punch-shaped hole in the next day’s date.

By tapping the spliced-in piece with the handle of a knife I could make it blend seamlessley into the ticket and the cursory glance the inspectors gave easily passed it as a new, freshly-punched ticket. By this means, I could get away with only buying a ticket once a week, on Monday morning, thus saving myself $2.40 per day from Tuesday to Friday.

In this travel card, you can see that the 2 and the 6 have been replaced and the 8 cut out to resemble the notch left by a genuine ticket inspector’s hole punch.


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