Thousands of fare dodgers caught on county railways

PUBLISHED: 08:31 12 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:31 12 February 2019

Greater Anglia. Picture: Sonya Duncan Copyright. Archant 2016

Greater Anglia. Picture: Sonya Duncan Copyright. Archant 2016

Archant

Fare dodgers in Essex were ordered to pay £1.6million last year after railway operator Greater Anglia prosecuted people caught riding trains without tickets.

Across the network, more than 10,000 people were prosecuted during 2018 after they were caught without tickets on Greater Anglia trains.

In Essex, magistrates imposed fines of £693,846 and costs of £942,515 on 5,252 people who were accused of fare evasion.

Cases were also heard at courts across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and London.

Only people who board a train without a ticket and without any intention of buying a ticket are taken to court – about 500-700 people a month.

Across the network, a further 4,000-6,000 people end up with penalty fares for using the wrong ticket to travel, such as an adult travelling on a child’s ticket or using a rail card discount when they don’t have a railcard.

Greater Anglia’s revenue protection teams use their discretion when inspecting tickets.

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 onvestigations officers who use the latest technology and systems to detect fraudulent activity, specialising in travel fraud, such as delay repay fraud rings.

Greater Anglia’s commercial and customer service director, Martin Moran, said: “We will take action against people who travel without the correct ticket and will always prosecute people who have boarded our trains with no intention of paying for a ticket. “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 – and it just ends up pushing up prices for our fare-paying customers.

“For every £1 spent on rail fares, 98p is invested in the railway. By not paying for a ticket, there’s less money available for investment to improve the railway for everyone.

“We have a range of great value fares and offers available – especially if you book in advance.”

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