Fare dodging/short faring all round me tonight

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Puffing Devil

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Coming back from the Man City game tonight on the Chester train, the guard makes a ticket sweep leaving Stockport. Guy behind me, who was on the train as I boarded at Piccadilly, asks for a Single from Stockport. Couple of blokes ahead of me, who I recognised from the trip in earlier in the evening, ask for the same - a ticket ex-Stockport. Again, they had been on since Piccadilly and hadn't invested in a return ticket on their way out, if they had bought a ticket at all.....

Got to wonder why the guard is selling tickets from a station with adequate purchasing facilities?

Also wondering how much Northern is losing from poor revenue protection.
 
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8J

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I imagine the guard doesn't want conflict on a late night train after a football match... Investing in ticket barriers will hopefully help with this
 

Phil.

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Coming back from the Man City game tonight on the Chester train, the guard makes a ticket sweep leaving Stockport. Guy behind me, who was on the train as I boarded at Piccadilly, asks for a Single from Stockport. Couple of blokes ahead of me, who I recognised from the trip in earlier in the evening, ask for the same - a ticket ex-Stockport. Again, they had been on since Piccadilly and hadn't invested in a return ticket on their way out, if they had bought a ticket at all.....

Got to wonder why the guard is selling tickets from a station with adequate purchasing facilities?

Also wondering how much Northern is losing from poor revenue protection.

You've never worked on a train alone with scores of football fans have you?
 

Puffing Devil

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What alternative option do they have?

"Penalty" fares, unless these have changed with the demise of the franchise?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
You've never worked on a train alone with scores of football fans have you?

The mood on the train was good. Maybe some RPIs out late at night would help.

What was clear was that no-one had bought tickets on the inbound, earlier in the day. That was certainly not a "football" train.
 

yorkie

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"Penalty" fares, unless these have changed with the demise of the franchise?
The short answer: No.:lol:

The longer answer is...

The mid-Cheshire line is not an appropriate line to have a Penalty Fare scheme in operation. https://www.ircas.co.uk/docs/SRA%20-%20Penalty%20Fare%20Policy%202002.pdf
We may question the need for a penalty fares scheme to cover long-distance services, where a conductor is able to check every passenger, or rural services operated as ‘paytrains’, where most stations are unstaffed and it is normal practice to buy tickets on board the train.
If you say the Guard is going to be issuing Penalty Fares, then they should not be selling ordinary fares, which would be problematical on such a line.

Northern Rail did not operate a Penalty Fare scheme.

Arriva Trains Northern did - briefly - on the Airdeale/Wharfedale lines, but...
I remember when Arriva Trains Northern tried to introduce Penalty Fares on the Leeds Northwest Triangle services. It was a complete disaster as virtually all the stations were unstaffed, and they dropped tatty NSE pertis machines (many still had the NSE logo on!) in at stations. If the machines weren't out of service after being vandalised (which was about 75% of the time), the scheme never worked as everyone just put in 5p, and then the Guard on the trains took so long to issue tickets and start faffing around with all the pertis vouchers, that I'm led to believe revenue actually dropped. Combined with the fact there were never any Revenue Protection staff to enforce the Penalty fare anyway, then the scheme was quickly abandoned. Stations such as Keighley still bear the scars where the pertis machines were to this day...
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
What was clear was that no-one had bought tickets on the inbound, earlier in the day. That was certainly not a "football" train.
But which are we discussing? Are we discussing the issue of the short faring on the evening train, or the lack of revenue collection on the earlier train? These are surely two separate issues. The solution for the latter would surely be to employ more revenue staff. Penalty Fares are not the solution; compare travelling on most trains on Scotrail with the likes of SWT or Southeastern inner suburban services!

Also: https://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/sites/default/files/files/timetables/Chiltern Penalty Fares.pdf

Penalty Fare is a charge that Chiltern Railways is allowed
to make under the Regulations and Rules. It is not a fine, and
anyone who is charged one is not being accused of avoiding,
or attempting to avoid, paying their fare.

‘Fare dodging’ is a completely different matter: it is a criminal
offence and we treat it as such by prosecuting offenders.
(my emphasis in all quotes)
 

Puffing Devil

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What's the answer then? Passengers "boarding" at a station with ticketing facilities - no apparent sanction when they are discovered without a ticket? Perhaps they deserve the 142s they have to endure.
 

scrapy

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Whilst the mid Cheshire line beyond Hale is mostly rural I don't see a problem in having a penalty fares scheme from Manchester and Stockport. These are urban stations with ticket purchasing facilities and the conductor cannot get to everybody and often is unable to reach the front set due to non gangwayed stock.

I agree the Arriva trains northern penalty fares scheme was a disaster and very badly implemented but I'd much rather see a proper penalty fares scheme around the Manchester area with proper ticket machines and longer ticket office hours than the current hit and miss unregulated fail to purchase scheme.
 

8J

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The train guard is not responsible for issuing penalty fares or Northern's "Failure to Purchase" notices. The train guard is in charge of the safety of the passengers onboard the train firstly and as issuing a penalty on passengers could lead to conflict or a potentially volatile situation, it is simply not worth it!

As I say, automatic ticket gates at main stations will be the answer I think.
 

yorkie

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jtd508110 - I completely agree with your first paragraph. It's not best practice for a Guard to be issuing Penalty Fares. The only TOC who I can think of who does this (there may be others) is EMT, and even then that's only on their 'main line' services, and I'm not totally sure if they still do...

I will only agree with the second paragraph if suitable safeguards are in place to protect passengers using valid tickets, though.
 

tsr

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Frankly, even if somebody is "short faring" it may be very annoying, but it can be better to collect what revenue you can, than collect none due to an argument as a result. Additionally, it is often very hard to know exactly how and where somebody has boarded a train; even on the shorter trains on local services in the North of England, it must be hard to recognise everyone, and certainly in the South with 12 coach trains regularly on all-stations or semi-fast services as well as expresses, it's virtually impossible to remember everybody. Sometimes body language is not fully readable and therefore it is also hard to tell when somebody is "trying it on". Even with ticket barriers or RPIs, some do sneak through the net too.

I don't know about the area of the country in question, but where I'm based there is a dedicated email system used to report this sort of behaviour, as well as anti-social behaviour, to build up a picture of suspected offenders. Despite what I've written above, just because the wrong ticket is sold doesn't mean that it's not a problem which is being monitored and reported. You and indeed the offender(s) just never know! Experience tells me that one is usually on high alert for any problems on services with lots of drunk passengers / loads of football fans / via problem locations anyway, so you're probably more likely to spot ticketing irregularities, even if then you don't have the ability to take action straight away.
 

The Ham

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Sometimes shirt faring doesn't save that much, by having a single from station B instead of station A may save a little bit and sometimes returns are only 5p to 10p more than the single.

I don't know the stations involved but what is the difference between a single from Stockport and return to Manchester? If it less then 10% difference then it's not really going to make a large difference (that's not to say that it shouldn't be clamped down on, but rather that the Guard is right to allow people to pay the lower fare to keep the atmosphere on the train good rather than cause confrontation).

With regards to guards remembering people it is not uncommon for a ticket check to happen one side of the station on my split tickets and for the guard to walk through after (still checking tickets) and not ask me for another ticket. I've even (by mistake) shown the wrong portion (while still having the right portion) and not been questioned on it (I only noticed as I put them away).

If that happens a lot then I can see why people think that they can get away with dodgy practices.
 

bignosemac

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Off Peak Day Single fares as far as Altrincham are identical from Manchester and Stockport. To Northwich it's 40p difference. And to Chester it's 60p more from Manchester versus Stockport.
 

gimmea50anyday

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So for the sake of 60p the conductor is avoiding conflict on a late night service where a number of the punters may well be inebriated, where there is little opportunity for backup if anything was to go wrong, while still reasonably collecting as much of the revenue as reasonably practicable.

Fair play to the conductor, I know many would decline working through the train on a personal safety basis
 

LowLevel

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jtd508110 - I completely agree with your first paragraph. It's not best practice for a Guard to be issuing Penalty Fares. The only TOC who I can think of who does this (there may be others) is EMT, and even then that's only on their 'main line' services, and I'm not totally sure if they still do...

I will only agree with the second paragraph if suitable safeguards are in place to protect passengers using valid tickets, though.

No EMT guards have ever been Penalty Fare 'authorised collectors' as far as I know.

What they are all issued with is an unpaid fare notice pad and obviously as a byelaws authorised person they're entitled to submit ticket irregularity and other breaches reports or summon constables/PACE trained revenue protection officers.

Sometimes you might find a guard issuing a reminder that you're on a train in a penalty fare area out of somewhere like Nottingham regardless of whether revenue protection are actually on board, but this is mostly just to weed out a few easy pickings, I personally find it quite entertaining. I can't issue penalty fare but informing someone without a ticket that a 20 quid penalty fare can be chargeable for their 2 quid journey and letting them make the inference while you tap their actual journey into the machine and tell them what you're really charging is also quite amusing. Especially when you've mentioned the penalty fare but then charge 40 odd quid for a SOS to Manchester rather than the 20 quid SSS they were expecting to pay.
 

Greenback

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So for the sake of 60p the conductor is avoiding conflict on a late night service where a number of the punters may well be inebriated, where there is little opportunity for backup if anything was to go wrong, while still reasonably collecting as much of the revenue as reasonably practicable.

Fair play to the conductor, I know many would decline working through the train on a personal safety basis

Agreed. There has to be a balance between trying to collect every last 10p and trying to collect as much revenue as possible. The time taken to confront a passenger about their travelling history that day might result in that person paying £1 more, or it might simply result in wasting ten minutes to no effect. That time is better spent on getting through more of the train and collecting more money from other passengers.

The railway industry has long recognised that it will be impossible to collect all the fares that are due. The compromise is to collect as much as possible, while trying to detect serial offenders.
 

JohnR

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Surely after an event like this where there is likely to be such evasion, some revenue protection officers, accompanied by someone from BTP?
 

Greenback

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What would they do if it can't be proven where the passenger in question actually boarded the train? Would having RPI's on board, or alternatively enough staff to mount a full ticket check in Manchester, be the best use of resources if done on a regular basis?
 

The Ham

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What would they do if it can't be proven where the passenger in question actually boarded the train? Would having RPI's on board, or alternatively enough staff to mount a full ticket check in Manchester, be the best use of resources if done on a regular basis?

Quite, even if they "gain" 100 extra full price fares of an average of 40p each the that is only £40, given that staff costs can be significant especially as RPI's tend to operate in pairs.

I don't know what the hourly rate for an RPI is, but let's assume that they are on overtime (as then there are no fixed costs to worry about like training, uniform, etc.) and there are two of them and that they work for an hour, that works out £20 per hour each. However there would be employers National Insurance to pay on that (so less £2.76) meaning pay of £17.24, assuming 1.5 pay rate for overtime then that is an hourly rate of about £11.50 (which is £22,425 for an 37.5 hour working week as a comparison for office workers).

Which means that even if they are on less than that the amount of extra revenue for the industry isn't a lot. Even if they were on £7.20 per hour with no overtime allowance the extra to the industry would be just over £23 on an event which happens relatively infrequently.
 

Tetchytyke

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Surely after an event like this where there is likely to be such evasion, some revenue protection officers, accompanied by someone from BTP?

But is it worth it?

A single between Manchester and Northwich is £1.20 less than a return. Getting either ticket between Stcokport and Northwich saves you 40p.

The "fare evasion" by buying a single from Stockport to Northwich compared to a Northwich-Manchester return is therefore a whopping £1.60.

Is that really the best use of RPIs, given that guard clearly managed to obtain most fares?
 

Greenback

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I think that even if they were being paid less than the overtime rate that The Ham mentions, it would still cost more money than the amount of extra revenue that would be taken.

Even if, for argument's sake, it wasn't, then it's arguable that the resources being employed could be put to much better and more lucrative use elsewhere.
 

The Ham

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But is it worth it?

A single between Manchester and Northwich is £1.20 less than a return. Getting either ticket between Stcokport and Northwich saves you 40p.

The "fare evasion" by buying a single from Stockport to Northwich compared to a Northwich-Manchester return is therefore a whopping £1.60.

Is that really the best use of RPIs, given that guard clearly managed to obtain most fares?

Of course there is always the possibility that the individuals in question have brought a single into Manchester (potentially from a station further in than they boarded at) and then have brought a single from Stockport to their destination which ends up costing them more than if they brought the correct return ticket in the first place.
 

fstrange

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What's the answer then? Passengers "boarding" at a station with ticketing facilities - no apparent sanction when they are discovered without a ticket? Perhaps they deserve the 142s they have to endure.

Whilst I agree that those who do not have a ticket deserve the poor trains we have, those of us we who pay do not deserve them. I see all sorts of tactics used to try to avoid payment and some people are serial offenders, getting a free journey several days a week. ( I use the line as a commuter from a station with no facilities but these people travel to and from stations with ticketing facilities). If the conductor checks all tickets they just buy a ticket so there is no penalty for not having a ticket.

I find it annoying because the custom on the line needs more frequent and better trains, but the way people are allowed, by the operating companies to get away with not paying, means that the numbers using the line are grossly under estimated.

On a football night or a late night train I agree the conductor on their own can only do so much and any revenue is better than none.
 

Phil.

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So for the sake of 60p the conductor is avoiding conflict on a late night service where a number of the punters may well be inebriated, where there is little opportunity for backup if anything was to go wrong, while still reasonably collecting as much of the revenue as reasonably practicable.

Fair play to the conductor, I know many would decline working through the train on a personal safety basis

There speaks a person with common sense.
 

LowLevel

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The key with football fans is to get their money off them on the way in while they're excited about the match, happy and not too tanked up on alcohol. I regularly do revenue on football trains in this manner and they're not too bad. A hands off attitude, being friendly yourself and taking money as it's offered is essential though - that's where a decent conductor lives and dies by their instincts. Give em all groupsaves and like the Saturday night crowd you're their best mate. I quite frequently grip football trains and they're OK to a point. If the booze has been flowing I might sack off revenue if I'm alone though. I always make a point unless the train is full and standing of doing tickets when police and security are provided though no matter how rowdy - largely in the hope that the company will make the link between providing us with back up and making money.
 

ScotGG

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It's far from ideal but there is a staff member gaining some revenue.

On suburban Southeastern routes there are few barriers and no on-board staff so no money would be coming in.
 

Greenback

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That's a nice post, LowLevel. The guards in my area work in much the same way with both rugby and football fans, as well as the inevitable stag and hen parties heading to and from the big cities! The conductors are chatty, friendly and non confrontational on early evening trains. They seem to sense the mood later at night but they never hide away and do walk the train even if they don't sell or check tickets all the time.

Most of my fellow passengers when I;ve been on late traisn have been clutching their tickets ready for inspection anyway, as they expect them to be checked more often than not.
 

Antman

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It's far from ideal but there is a staff member gaining some revenue.

On suburban Southeastern routes there are few barriers and no on-board staff so no money would be coming in.

Exactly, much of the Southeastern network is effectively free to use in the evening with only the London terminals having ticket gates in operation, and even then not always, and the high speed trains are the only ones with regular onboard ticket checks.
 

craigybagel

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As someone who works football Trains out of Manchester regularly I would say any money earned is a gain, regardless of how much money should be theoretically there for the taking. Get everybody home safe and sound, including yourself. Everything else is a bonus. It's sad that it's come to this but unless you want to put barriers backed up by BTP on every departure then you've got no choice.

Like my colleague from a similar TOC LowLevel says, be friendly and go easy.
 
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