Penalty fare warning, via Itsock

Rail fine quintupling to curb fare dodging

The fine for travelling without a train ticket in England is set to quintuple in early 2023, rising from £20 to the fivefold increase of £100. The Department for Transport (DfT) have announced this staggering jump, representing the first rise in this fare since 2005 because it is felt that the existing amount no longer acts as a deterrent.

The DfT are arguing that this increase to travel fines will help to modernise the railways as the industry is estimated to lose up to £240m each year, which is then subsidised through taxpayers “who are currently footing the bill of those passengers travelling without a ticket.” The make up in lost earnings will also be useful to fund upcoming modernisation projects in the rail sector.

As the rail industry is still recovering in lost revenue from the recent pandemic restrictions, accompanied by the rise in remote working, rail operators have been struggling to boost income where possible. Though passenger journeys have returned up to 95% of pre-pandemic levels in some areas, the ongoing industrial action has created another source of lost income that must be addressed in some form or another.

A DfT spokesperson said:

 “By acting as an effective deterrent, more revenue will be generated by the railway, which can be re-invested to improve the quality of passenger services.”

The new fine will come at £100 and will be issued on top of the existing price of a standard ticket for the passenger’s journey, however this fare will be reduced to £50 if paid within a 21-day window. This new system will come into play from 23rd January 2023.

Whilst this new fine may seem excessive when compared to its predecessor, the national penalty will now be more in line with fines on transport services across the country. People caught without a ticket on Transport for London (TfL) services are fined £80, and those on Manchester Metrolink have to pay £100.

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