18 January 2023
Fraudulent travellers warned as nationwide raise in penalty fare increased to £100 from Monday January 23.
The Department for Transport is to increase the Penalty Fare in England from £20 to £100, its first raise since 2005. If paid before 21 days, the fine is reduced to £50, plus the price of the full applicable single fare. The change represents a significant increase to the existing Penalty Fare of £20 or twice the full single fare to the next station, whichever is greater.
Penalty Fares may be charged if a customer:
- Travels without a valid ticket
- Is unable to produce the appropriate Railcard
- Travels in First Class accommodation with a Standard ticket
- Is 16 or over travelling on a child rate ticket
- Travels beyond the destination of the ticket
Customers should buy their ticket from the ticket office, a ticket machine, or online. If they are using pay as you go or a smartcard ticket, they should ensure they touch in to start their journey as required. If the ticket office is closed, customers will be able to buy at a ticket machine or online before they board a train.
Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director at East Midlands Railway, said: "The vast majority of our customers always buy a ticket, and they understand that for the railway to successfully operate, improve, and secure investment, fares need to be paid for. Sadly though, there are a minority of determined people who always look to evade paying or look for ways to work the system. "Following direction from the Department for Transport and in line with other train operators, EMR will be increasing Penalty Fares. By doing so, we hope to provide a proper deterrent to those intent on travelling without a ticket.’’
Northern has said that student fare evasion is something it has been working hard to combat, in partnership with secondary schools and University Technical Colleges (UTCs) across its network. It said, "Many fare evasion incidents take place when students are travelling relatively short distances between rural and suburban stations which are not barrier-controlled. Given the high number of students on-board and the limited journey time, conductors cannot always carry out a full ticket inspection, which emboldens students to ‘risk it’."
With the new penalty fare coming into place on Monday, Northern is appealing to students – and their parents – to take advantage of the Under 16 Education Season Ticket and the savings it offers.
Mark Powles, commercial and customer director at Northern, said: “Under 16 Education Season Tickets offer savings that can be worth hundreds of pounds per year. “Having one also means a student always has the means to get to and from school – and won’t succumb to peer pressure, travel without a ticket and risk being issued with a £100 penalty fare. It’s no way to spend your pocket money – don’t risk it!”
There is a process in place for customers to appeal a Penalty Fare which includes an independent panel to ensure fairness and appropriate use of the legislation.