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Are ticket barriers at one station an effective deterrent against fare evasion?

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Killingworth

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I have no idea, but for those travelling 5 days a week either in one direction or both a regular weekly season ticket is cheaper than daily singles or returns, and these can be purchased from Ulverston or Barrow, so obtaining one is not exactly hard. And loss is not that great an issue, as at £10.00 (from Roose to Ulverston) you just dock a week's pocket money to pay for it if it's lost (again building the child's personal responsibility).

If there is a scholar's ticket, then there is even less of a case for buying daily singles.

But a pass effectively covering a school term or year would be better. GA do it but I don't see a Northern equivalent. Needs to be promoted by the schools before terms start.

I gather they had difficulties with school children on the Buxton line when it became a gated station. Haven't heard how that's worked out.
 
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philthetube

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Is it not possible that the younger sibling attends an after school club and that they are picked up from there?

Northern have acted in a way that they knew would cause "other arrangements" to be made for a significant number of school children, seemingly without warning. I don't think they can possibly expect to avoid negative press by acting in this manner.

You can go on about likelihoods all you like but I know that all sorts of arrangements can and do happen, and to make assumptions that this inconvenience will not create any issues is unwise.

At least one parent felt unhappy enough to go to the press but we don't know what other inconveniences occurred. It was entirely foreseeable that this would backfire on Northern.

There are more appropriate ways and means they could have made their point.

I know passengers who have been mistreated very badly by Northern, so I don't trust them one bit. Managers were dismissive of the inconveniences caused and failed to understand the issue.

My knowledge of their failings in this area means that when presented with a conflict between a parent and a spokesperson for Northern, where clearly both cannot be entirely correct, I am inclined to believe the parent as at least I have no prior evidence of wrongdoing by that particular party.

If Northern want to be trusted they need to stop mistreating people and I have seen a lot of evidence of customers being mistreated by Northern.

They're a rotten company.

We don't know how the block worked, we have only the kids word that those with tickets missed the train because of it, there are alternatives to this block, but not many which are not expensive to implement, and other passengers should not be subsidising revenue protection.

Probably the most effective way would be to inform the school that passengers travelling ticketless shen they have had opportunity to purchase tickets will be prosecuted.

Advance warning that it is going to happen, half a dozen then in court and job sorted for the year.
 

Bletchleyite

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Advance warning that it is going to happen, half a dozen then in court and job sorted for the year.

I'm not sure I would support destroying kids' future employment prospects with a criminal record for this. I think causing serious inconvenience by delaying them (refusing travel, making them wait a long time, putting them off at an inconvenient station with staff present etc[1]) is very much the way to make the point.

[1] One option - put two RPIs at Dalton so there are staff there, have a very visible member of staff flogging tickets at Roose in the morning but not forcing the issue, then chucking the lot off at Dalton if they haven't paid. Then they have to phone home, their parents come out of work and get them. Point made.
 

scrapy

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Or get the TVMs put in at all stations to Barrow and implement a PF scheme. If it starts costing the fare dodgers £20 a day they will soon change their practice.
That's the plan but as it will only mean collecting a promise to pay (most kids pay cash) then it will have little effect.
 

krus_aragon

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Do you reckon?

No, station blocks should absolutely not be announced. Not ever, under any circumstances. You want to catch people out so they change to believing nasty things could happen (a) at random, and (b) enough times that fare dodging is not worthwhile, and if you warn them first they'll just pay for that week.

Similarly I wouldn't tip the school off - let the fare dodgers have the embarrassment and potential additional punishment (which they would then have to explain to their parents if it was a detention or similar) as further leverage.
I didn't state that the station block should be announced, only that kids should be (politely) reminded of the need for their tickets some time beforehand. No need to specify when the block is, or even that one is happening. A little carrot before the stick is a good idea, and gives the train operator an "I-told-you-so" or "c-y-a" card to play when some parents (inevitably) complain to the school / railway.


The train operator might choose to tell the school's headmaster when the block actually takes place, possibly on the day itself. That'd be a matter of courtesy, so school staff aren't surprised to see kids walking back in from the station at the end of the day. (The reception staff might not be employed for more than ten minutes after school finishes!)

Why?

Forget your pass, pay a fare. Don't do either, don't travel and have to explain to your parents why they have to pay for a taxi for you or to the school why you didn't attend that day and take the punishment.
The situation with schools and buses (here) is a little different, as the buses operate direct to the school, and transport is funded (for some) by the local council (some schools around here have very large catchment areas). This kind of emergency pass system deals with "honest mistakes" (c.f. penalty fares, or forgetting your railcard), but if you don't return the emergency pass the next day, you'll be prompted by your form tutor, or the school will be in touch with your parents. There may also be fines attached, or fares to pay, depending on the situation. The long and the short of it is that the problem is dealt with elsewhere, and the kid gets home at the end of the day.

(There may be some parallels in the case of councils subsidising school transport by rail, such as on the Cambrian Coast, but I have no direct experience of these schools. Though with a two-hourly rail service I imagine all concerned would be all the more keen to avoid leaving kids waiting for the next train.)

We need to breed personal responsibility. No ticket, no travel, simple as that, no question. The reason does not matter. Not dealing with this at a young age leads to the huge adult fare dodging culture we have now.
Agreed.
I'd argue that if a school has an emergency pass system in place, that strengthens the argument for "no ticket, no travel". If you turn up without a ticket, the obvious retort is "why didn't you go fetch a pass?"
(Edit: But in situations where the school/council doesn't contract the bus/train service itself (just funding the individual users), you'd need co-operation between the school/council and the transport provider before such a scheme could be started. It might not be practical in this instance.)
 
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30907

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Is it not possible that the younger sibling attends an after school club and that they are picked up from there.

It is, and any parent who makes an arrangement like that needs to have a clear plan B to allow for public transport delays, just as they would have a plan B if they themselves were making a pickup involving a car journey.
 

Killingworth

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How this particular incident has been handled is important but possibly more important is the light it shines on a bigger issue. What bothers me is that Northern don't seem to have been aware of the level of abuse that may have been going on for decades right across the north - and quite probably elsewhere.

Kids learn very early in life to push the boundaries as far as they can get away with. They've found they can get away without paying on the train, so they do, en masse. No ticket barriers, short journey, they'll get away with it as often as not. The conductor/guard hasn't a chance to check and collect from them all. They must have known about it for decades, but nothing seems to have filtered up the management chain for anything to be done.

Contrast this with Essex (not a different country although it may seem so) where Greater Anglia adult users buy season tickets as a matter of course . They catch these kids young with a range of tickets and payment methods, see; Scholars Season Ticket Information

My 12 year old grandson seems to find it works well for him and his friends and has almost convinced his elder brother at another school that the train would be better for him than his unreliable bus. I note GA trains run to time a lot better than Northern's! C2C run a similar scheme.

Maybe other TOCs might consider similar schemes? Maybe they already have. Too complicated for Northern I should expect with so many small stations and a multiplicity of possible schools.
 

Bletchleyite

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I don't see a massive need - a regular child-rate season ticket already offers a small discount and adds convenience.

Causing them to be delayed or stranded (in a safe location i.e. Ulverston station which is staffed and covered in CCTV) at least once a week if they haven't paid would concentrate minds. Kids learn that way, they don't learn by their parents coughing up £20 for a PF nor by a criminal record that won't affect them until they are older.
 

Gareth Marston

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The Ulverston example discussed here as opposed to say the Cambrian Coast School trains is an example of children going to a secondary school outside of their catchment area. The Local Authority has no obligation to provide school transport in these circumstances, whereas on the Cambrian Coast all the students get (free) passes provided by Gwynedd CC who pay TfW as the High Schools in Tywyn and Harlech are the catchment schools for communities along the Cambrian Coast. Gwynedd pay the railway as alternative transport would involve lengthy inland detours and would cause "hardship" as the TUCC concluded when he Ministry / BR tried to close the coast line in the early 70's.

There's four main reason groups why someone would attend a school outside their normal catchment.
  1. The local school (School A) is deemed inferior has poorer achievement rates/ doesn't have the courses the child wants to study. the parents/child perceive going elsewhere (School B) will give them a better education and chance in life.
  2. The child is deeply unhappy/bullied at School A and going to School B gets them away from this.
  3. The pupil has moved to School A's catchment having previously attended School B and is settled there/ has friends already doing GCSE etc so wants to stay and not disrupt their education.
  4. The move is "managed" the pupil has truancy/behavior/attainment issues at School A and going to School B is seen as an alternative clean break to exclusion.
Option 4 is paid for by the Local Authority. 1 to 3 the parents pay. As you can see Options 1 to 3 are within the realms of "doing it for their child" and parents are usually willing and accept that there will be a cost involved. Its a choice they make.
 

Bletchleyite

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Option 4 is paid for by the Local Authority. 1 to 3 the parents pay. As you can see Options 1 to 3 are within the realms of "doing it for their child" and parents are usually willing and accept that there will be a cost involved. Its a choice they make.

I suspect most parents are paying, it's just that their kid is fare-dodging, keeping the cash and buying sweets (or iTunes vouchers, or whatever kids buy these days).

If those parents, when they find out, are of any quality, they will give their child a further punishment for lying to them rather than talking of the nasty railway who just wants them to pay the fare due. An excellent way would be making them repay the money they have stolen from their pocket money, until all the money that they suspect was not spent on train fares is repaid. And buy a season ticket, as that will stop it immediately.

If any of them are encouraging it, they need prosecuting for whatever offence can be used for inciting or being party to fraud.
 

pt_mad

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Or get the TVMs put in at all stations to Barrow and implement a PF scheme. If it starts costing the fare dodgers £20 a day they will soon change their practice.

It's possible there would still be complaints if kids were penalty fared though. How is this done currently? Do they have to verify their identity via a name and address? I could still see parents complaining about their child receiving what they'd perceive as a £20 fine on school children.
 

Bletchleyite

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It's possible there would still be complaints if kids were penalty fared though. How is this done currently? Do they have to verify their identity via a name and address? I could still see parents complaining about their child receiving what they'd perceive as a £20 fine on school children.

Well, maybe they should pay their fare then!

I do think there may be a legal issue with PFing a kid as it's basically a debt. Hence my favouring the simple idea of "no ticket, no travel" and if caught on board without one where one could have been purchased you just get chucked off at a suitable safe location, at which you either purchase one or you call your parents and get them to sort it out.
 

pt_mad

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Well, maybe they should pay their fare then!

I do think there may be a legal issue with PFing a kid as it's basically a debt. Hence my favouring the simple idea of "no ticket, no travel" and if caught on board without one where one could have been purchased you just get chucked off at a suitable safe location, at which you either purchase one or you call your parents and get them to sort it out.

In principle I bet many many people would agree with you. But nowadays it seems the person or organisation preventing the child from sticking to their after school plan, may end up being acused of safeguarding issues.

If it's perceived by a proportion of society that you can't prevent a child from doing what their parents arranged for them, even if they are short of money, then how can child fares reasonably be enforced while maintaining the moral and ethical ground at the same time? The balance is becoming harder to achieve. What once were seen as naughty nuisance teenagers by some, are now all seen as simply children, when 15 or under. Children are pretty much determined to be vulnerable when not with a parent, guardian or responsible adult, hence why there was all that uproar when TPE were first proposing changing the morning train time, and it was seen by the local public as putting g children at risk because the school wasn't open when they would arrive.
 

PeterC

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Kids learn very early in life to push the boundaries as far as they can get away with. They've found they can get away without paying on the train, so they do, en masse. No ticket barriers, short journey, they'll get away with it as often as not. The conductor/guard hasn't a chance to check and collect from them all. They must have known about it for decades, but nothing seems to have filtered up the management chain for anything to be done.
Very true, when I was young we were given silly school uniform rules to rebel against. It wasn't long after leaving school that I realised that these had served a purpose in stopping us pushing at more dangerous boundaries.

Now we never seem to push back until the kids get to something dangerous, illegal or both.
 

Bletchleyite

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In principle I bet many many people would agree with you. But nowadays it seems the person or organisation preventing the child from sticking to their after school plan, may end up being acused of safeguarding issues.

Yes, the "Safeguarding industry" does like to push this nonsense by suggesting that a 17 year old sixth form rugby player is somehow some kind of vulnerable snowflake. They're not[1]. Vulnerability depends far more on the person than the age. For what it's worth, I think if you put my mother off the train at an unstaffed station in the middle of nowhere at 9pm she would be utterly terrified, whereas already 6 foot plus 15 year old me would have just been a bit annoyed but ready for a bit of a long walk (or a walk to a phone box to use my parents' BT chargecard number, which I knew by heart so I could never be truly stranded as I could still use it if mugged of absolutely everything, to phone to ask very nicely for help).

Of course had it been my stupid fault I got stranded, I might well have been told to walk.

[1] Well, they are and they aren't - they are quite vulnerable to people pushing them to take drugs, or to have sex when they're not ready, or to drive dangerously, or to drink too much (though current 17 year olds seem surprisingly uninterested), or that kind of thing - but they are not vulnerable to spending an hour waiting on a staffed station with CCTV in what is probably one of the safest parts of the UK. The "Safeguarding industry" however seems more interested in easy targets.

If it's perceived by a proportion of society that you can't prevent a child from doing what their parents arranged for them, even if they are short of money, then how can child fares reasonably be enforced while maintaining the moral and ethical ground at the same time? The balance is becoming harder to achieve. What once were seen as naughty nuisance teenagers by some, are now all seen as simply children, when 15 or under. Children are pretty much determined to be vulnerable when not with a parent, guardian or responsible adult, hence why there was all that uproar when TPE were first proposing changing the morning train time, and it was seen by the local public as putting g children at risk because the school wasn't open when they would arrive.

And I thought that was ridiculous, too. Northern should have stood their ground and told them to take it or leave it.
 

pt_mad

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One question for those in the know. Ticket barriers. What is the process if someone has arrived at a station by train and is attempting to leave through the barriers without a valid ticket? I understand that if the barrier staff have ticket machines, they will sell them the anytime ticket. But what if the barrier staff do not retail tickets, and the ticket office is outside of the ticket barriers? I.e. you could be allowed through the barriers to buy a ticket and just walk away?

I read a post some time ago where someone suggested that refusing to let a person exit the ticket barriers, even if they evaded a fare, could be classed as false imprisonment. So what is the process in scenarios like this? Must be fairly common at barriered stations.
 

Gareth Marston

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I suspect most parents are paying, it's just that their kid is fare-dodging, keeping the cash and buying sweets (or iTunes vouchers, or whatever kids buy these days).

If those parents, when they find out, are of any quality, they will give their child a further punishment for lying to them rather than talking of the nasty railway who just wants them to pay the fare due. An excellent way would be making them repay the money they have stolen from their pocket money, until all the money that they suspect was not spent on train fares is repaid. And buy a season ticket, as that will stop it immediately.

If any of them are encouraging it, they need prosecuting for whatever offence can be used for inciting or being party to fraud.

It's worth making the point for those not familiar that these are overwhelmingly going to be children of parents who have opted to send their kids to Ulvaston for a "better education" than what they pericieve can be obtained in Barrow. These are not people off a council estate on low wages that are being forced to send their kids to school miles away.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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One question for those in the know. Ticket barriers. What is the process if someone has arrived at a station by train and is attempting to leave through the barriers without a valid ticket? I understand that if the barrier staff have ticket machines, they will sell them the anytime ticket. But what if the barrier staff do not retail tickets, and the ticket office is outside of the ticket barriers? I.e. you could be allowed through the barriers to buy a ticket and just walk away?

I read a post some time ago where someone suggested that refusing to let a person exit the ticket barriers, even if they evaded a fare, could be classed as false imprisonment. So what is the process in scenarios like this? Must be fairly common at barriered stations.
I've previously been in this situation (quite legitimately, there had been no available purchasing facilities at my origin). The gateline staff walked me to the ticket office.
 

Tetchytyke

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That said it is difficult to know who is really telling the truth here, and to what extend Northern's actions were reasonable or unreasonable without knowing the full information or even being there.

Northern will have done their usual trick of putting two RPIs in place to check all the tickets.

10 minute queue times seem entirely believable.
 

Tetchytyke

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But as I pointed out earlier with a quote from the article, many of them them choose to wait for the next train so they could travel together.

So say Northern. Depends if you believe them.

I wouldn't trust them if they said today was Wednesday!
 

xotGD

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I wonder how many of the kids who missed the train have claimed Delay Repay?
 

sheff1

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Interesting how this thread now seems to be all about PFs, prosecutions, throwing people off trains etc when the parent who went to the media was complaining that, due to the actions of Northern, their son missed the train despite already having a ticket.
 
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