Suffolk court orders fare-dodgers to pay £10,000 after Greater Anglia blitz
- Credit: Archant
Fare-dodging cost 25 travellers more than £10,000 when they appeared before magistrates in Ipswich last week.
And Greater Anglia warned people heading off by train over the Christmas period that their inspectors would be working as normal over the holiday period to ensure the correct fares were paid.
Magistrates in Ipswich imposed fines of £8,070 and costs of £2,500 on 25 people prosecuted for fare dodging at a hearing on Tuesday 14 November.
Their appearance was part of a crackdown by Greater Anglia which cost fare dodgers more than £121,500 after a crackdown across the region.
Greater Anglia’s Revenue Protection team caught the defendants on board Greater Anglia trains in Essex, Suffolk, London and Hertfordshire without tickets and with no cash or cards on them to buy a ticket.
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Revenue protection inspectors can choose either to issue penalty fares – if people are travelling with a wrong ticket – or start prosecution proceedings if the passenger had boarded the train with no intention of paying.
The company issues between 4,000 to 6,000 penalty fares a month and prosecutes between 500 to 700 people a month.
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Andrew Goodrum said: “Ultimately, it’s much cheaper to buy a ticket than risk a fine or prosecution. Not buying a ticket means that we have less money to invest in the railway and leads to ticket prices going up for everyone.”
A spokeswoman for Greater Anglia said that although the holiday season was looming, the company’s inspectors would be on duty throughout the Christmas period.
She said: “We know a lot of people will be using the trains to go Christmas shopping or to festive events over the next few weeks – but it is very important that they all have the correct ticket.
“Our inspectors will be working as normal and anyone who does not have the right ticket will either get a penalty fare or risk prosecution. We also have undercover ticket inspectors who work to protect our revenue.”
The trains are expected to be especially popular for leisure travellers over the next few weeks – and weekend engineering work on the main line to London has been cleared until the Christmas and New Year holiday week.
Fare dodgers cost the railway in the UK £200 million a year.