‘My dog ate my train ticket’ - Fare-dodgers’ excuses revealed

Rail passengers' excuses for travelling without a ticket have been revealed. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRAR

Rail passengers' excuses for travelling without a ticket have been revealed. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: Archant

Fare dodgers’ far-fetched excuses for travelling by rail without a ticket have been revealed - with others warned “we’ve heard it all before”.

Greater Anglia has given examples of passengers’ excuses including “my dog ate my train ticket” and “I never pay for travelling on the railway”.

The rail company said revenue protection team regularly patrol trains across the Greater Anglia network, issuing in total between 4,000 to 6,000 penalty fares a month and prosecuting between 500 to 700 people in court.

Last Tuesday alone, magistrates in Ipswich dealt with 49 cases of fare evasion in the north of Greater Anglia’s network, issuing £11,880 in fines and £7,350 in costs.

Only passengers travelling without a ticket or any money or means to pay for a ticket are prosecuted in court.


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People travelling with the wrong ticket – maybe on a child’s ticket or with a railcard discount when they don’t have a railcard – face a penalty fare.

Common excuses for fare dodging incliude, people claiming they thought their Oyster Card was valid to stations beyond the cut-off point of Shenfield – even though there are announcements on trains and posters at stations stating this.

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Other excuses they have heard include “my wife picked mine up”, “I have a funeral to go to”, “the ticket office was busy” and “I left it in my car”.

Common excuses also include “I thought I could buy at the other end”, “my card wouldn’t work”, “I forgot to renew, I buy one every week”.

Greater Anglia revenue protection staff 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.

Kim Bucknell, Greater Anglia Head of Revenue Protection, said: “My team has heard all the excuses before. They use their discretion in deciding what action to take and have been trained to spot someone who is trying to either get away without paying or travelling on the wrong ticket.

“Not paying for a ticket results means there is less money to invest in our railway and that prices may go up even further for those who do pay.”

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