TfL strengthens measures against fare evasion with increased penalties

Posted: 7 March 2024 | | No comments yet

TfL intensifies its efforts against fare evasion by increasing penalty fares and deploying advanced technology to detect prolific offenders, ensuring a fair and reliable public transport system for all commuters.

TfL strengthens measures against fare evasion with increased penalties

Credit: Transport for London

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that it has raised the penalty fare for those caught evading fares from £80 to £100. The penalty is reduced to £50 if paid within 21 days. The move aims to act as a stronger deterrent to individuals attempting to skip fare payments, which drain vital revenue needed for investment in safe, clean and reliable public transport services.

TfL’s latest data, released in February 2024, revealed that in 2023 the agency had prosecuted 19,614 individuals for fare evasion, marking a staggering 56% surge compared to the figures from 2022.

The decision to escalate penalty fares aligns with the Department for Transport’s (DfT) directive to standardise the penalty fare across National Rail, ensuring uniformity in rules and penalties across different transport networks in London. The objective is clear – to uphold the efficacy of the penalty fare system as a deterrent against fare evasion.

Fare evasion poses a significant financial strain on TfL, estimated to cost between £130 million to £150 million annually. This loss directly impacts investments in the transport network, underscoring the urgency of addressing the issue. It’s reported that around 96% of commuters dutifully pay their fares, highlighting the importance of holding fare evaders accountable.

Furthermore, fare evasion and ticket disputes serve as precursors to nearly half of all reported work-related violence and aggression incidents towards frontline transport workers. TfL unequivocally condemns such behaviour and pledges to take stringent action against offenders.

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To combat fare evasion, TfL has deployed a multifaceted approach, leveraging a team of over 450 officers engaged in ticket inspection and revenue enforcement activities across all modes of transport daily. Additionally, TfL utilises advanced technology, such as the irregular travel analysis platform (ITAP), to detect and investigate prolific fare evaders, facilitating targeted intervention strategies.

Siwan Hayward, TfL’s Director of Security, Policing and Enforcement, said: “Around 96% of people do pay their fares correctly and it is unfair on these people that a minority of people do not. This increase in the penalty fare will ensure that there are clear and consistent rules across the different transport networks in London, and that our penalty fare remains an effective deterrent.”

The latest data exposes the extent of habitual fare evasion, with TfL uncovering instances where individuals made fraudulent journeys, defrauding the system of substantial revenue. TfL has intensified efforts to prosecute habitual offenders, aiming to curtail future instances of fare evasion.

Recent cases highlight TfL‘s resolve in combating fare evasion, with individuals caught evading fares through various means, including the misuse of contactless payment cards and insufficient funds on bank cards. These offenders have faced legal consequences, serving as a stark reminder of TfL’s unwavering commitment to enforcing fare payment regulations.

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