Published on: Monday, 23 January 2023
Last updated: Tuesday, 24 January 2023
The fine for not buying a ticket for travel is increasing.
The Government has introduced national legislation which applies to all train operators, including Greater Anglia, to increase penalties for people travelling on a train without a ticket.
From 23 January 2023, the new rate increased from the current £20 or twice the ticket price to the next station, whichever is greater, to the new penalty of £100, reduced to £50 if paid within 21 days, plus the price of a ticket for the journey on that train.
The Rail Delivery Group estimates fare evasion costs the industry an estimated £240 million per year.
Fare evasion is unfair to customers and detrimental to the rail industry because it means there is less money to invest in improving rail services or keeping fares down, so ultimately it is the customer who suffers.
Because of this, it is crucial that penalty fares are set at a level that is appropriate for both the industry and customers. It is hoped that the increase in penalty fares - the first in 18 years - will deter the minority of people who try to travel for free at the expense of other customers.
Penalty fares can be issued to rail passengers who catch trains without buying a ticket or travel with an invalid ticket – such as child rate ticket when an adult, claiming a railcard discount without a railcard or using an Oyster Card outside the Oyster Card boundaries of Shenfield and Broxbourne/Hertford East.
Kim Bucknell, Head of Customer Service East and Revenue Protection at Greater Anglia, said: “We have a team of over 130 revenue protection staff – both uniformed and plain clothes – who regularly go through our trains checking people’s tickets.
“The majority of our customers are travelling with the right ticket, but when we come across people without a ticket or the wrong ticket, then we will take action.
“It’s easy to buy a ticket, either from a ticket office, ticket machine, online or via our app, so there is no excuse for travelling without a ticket.
“We have a range of great value fares and offers available – especially if you book in advance, and it’s cheaper to buy a ticket than pay a fine.
“The majority of funding for the railways comes from passengers and wider taxpayers. By not buying a ticket, revenue is reduced, fares have to go up further for everyone and there is less money to invest in the railway.”
All staff issuing Penalty Fares are trained and authorised in the procedure and are allowed to use their discretion.
They are informed if ticket machines are out of order or ticket offices closed, so when these are used as reasons, they know if they are genuine.
As well as uniformed revenue protection inspectors, Greater Anglia also employs plain clothes fraud investigations officers who use the latest technology and systems to detect fraudulent activity, specialising in travel fraud, such as delay repay fraud rings.
There is a process in place for passengers to appeal a penalty fare which includes an independent panel to ensure fairness and appropriate use of the legislation: https://www.appealservice.co.uk/
Appeals must be raised within 21 days beginning the day after the notice was issued.