Fare Evasion: Poorly Enforced?

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Up_Tilt_390

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I can pretty much guarantee that anybody who's travelled on trains has, at one point, had a ticket that never got checked. If you're on a one-way trip or if it's the case both ways of no checks or barriers, then you've essentially just lost a good amount of money on a ticket to travel on a train you could've theoretically just jumped on board without a ticket and travel for free. I'm by no means encouraging anybody to do this, because it's not one bit fair on the paying passengers, but why does this happen sometimes?

For example, I recently travelled from Liverpool Lime Street to Glasgow Central, and the ticket barriers before platforms 1 to 6 at Liverpool have now been removed. So I sat on the train just watching my journey, and all the way to Preston I never had my tickets checked. I did get them checked on the way over the bridge to Platform 4 where my train to Glasgow was due, and they were checked on that train too. But if Northern failed to check the tickets on the train or at the origin station, then someone could've easily just not went across the bridge over the platforms and went back to Liverpool getting off scot-free with fare evasion.

Same thing happened on the way back. It took a while for Virgin to check my tickets, but with one hour between Glasgow and Carlisle, it wouldn't have allowed anyone to travel without a ticket between those destinations. But again, Northern failed to check the tickets on my way from Wigan to Liverpool. Because my ticket covered Liverpool Stations, I proceed to James Street station, and there is actually a lift at the Lime Street concourse that takes you right down to the platform. Then at James Street, there is actually a Water Street entrance with no barriers or checks, so while both the Wirral Line stations have ticket barriers, there are entrances which bypass them.

After the Northern Rail journey to Preston and boarding the Virgin Trains service to Glasgow, I decided to do a little experiment. The guard will usually walk through the train and ask for tickets for those who joined at a certain station, in this case Preston. I left it for a few seconds, and it actually took me calling the guard to check my ticket because he actually went past my table. I was expecting to be asked for my ticket, and I would've presented it to him, but I never expected to have to ask to get my ticket checked. I've tried an experiment with the Merseyrail loophole too. I had a Saveaway ticket as they were back then, so I had paid to travel on the network. I decided to take the Water Street entrance at James Street, went to the platform, took a train to Lime Street, took the lift to the concourse, and what do you know, nobody was there to check the ticket.

But sometimes this isn't the case, sometimes they do check tickets. But the point is, if the system has ways which allow people to avoid paying fares for tickets, should they be surprised when they do? If you ask me, Penalty Fares are basically train companies trying to get back some revenue if they ever do catch a fare evader because their system allowed it. Some people don't take the risk and always buy a ticket, which I personally advise you to do, but some people actually do avoid paying, and because of the system they sometimes get away with it. London Midland are the worst, because I have never had them check my tickets. Virgin mostly have, but only after certain stations where someone could've got off before hand, and Merseyrail has barriers at stations, but some have paths that bypass them.

So what are your thoughts? Is Fare Evasion poorly enforced? Should companies who have ways that allow people to avoid paying fares be surprised when somebody actually does? Again, I must advise that you to never take chances, and play it fair for the genuine paying customers and always buy a ticket, but you'll have to get over losing money if nobody cares to check it, and I hate to say that but it seems like the case sometimes.
 
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roversfan2001

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I always buy a ticket when I travel (if possible). I do believe on the whole due to the amount of unstaffed stations it's hard to make sure everyone has a valid ticket. For example, when I travelled to football a large number of weekends last year I rarely got checked on my 17 minute journey each way, although I get checked/have to buy a ticket pretty much every time now.

On a side note, at Preston Station if you go under the subway instead of over the bridge you probably wouldn't get checked (I've never done this without a valid ticket).
 

AndrewR232

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I've been making monthly daytrips from Glasgow Central to Carlisle (with VTWC) and back for a couple of years now, sometimes twice a month.

I can count on one hand the occasions I had my ticket checked on the return journey.
 

PaxVobiscum

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Is Fare Evasion poorly enforced?
Fare Evasion is not enforced at all.

Making the appropriate payment/having a valid ticket for one's rail journey may be poorly enforced, I agree.

I must have some Vulcan ancestors or perhaps it's just the fact that I am detectably on the spectrum, but I find just can't ignore the illogical title.

No offence taken, I trust. :)
 

anme

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But you don't know in advance whether your ticket will be checked. You can only know in hindsight whether you would have got away without paying, and by then it's too late.

It's the same for many crimes - detection rates are often pretty low.
 

Tim R-T-C

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No-one checks your shopping trolley on the way out of a supermarket, would be easy to throw in a few extra items too. 99% of people wouldn't though, because that would be stealing.

Strange that if a railway company doesn't check tickets, some people seem to think that means it is okay not to pay.
 

bb21

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On a side note, at Preston Station if you go under the subway instead of over the bridge you probably wouldn't get checked (I've never done this without a valid ticket).

There are plenty of stories on the forum about people being caught in the subway at Preston station without a valid ticket.
 

6Gman

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For example, I recently travelled from Liverpool Lime Street to Glasgow Central, and the ticket barriers before platforms 1 to 6 at Liverpool have now been removed. So I sat on the train just watching my journey, and all the way to Preston I never had my tickets checked. I did get them checked on the way over the bridge to Platform 4 where my train to Glasgow was due, and they were checked on that train too. But if Northern failed to check the tickets on the train or at the origin station, then someone could've easily just not went across the bridge over the platforms and went back to Liverpool getting off scot-free with fare evasion.

Assuming that a return trip from Liverpool to Preston is high on their "to do" list.

:D

And that they're happy to put up with the fear that on that particular day they will be checked ... and end up with a criminal record.

Ticket checking is inconsistent and often poor; it should be improved. But only a fool assumes they can get away with it.
 

anme

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Does anyone have any evidence that increased ticket checks would cover their costs?
 

Simon11

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If they did, you would see more staff!

There are plenty more ways than employing staff to efficiently reduce fare evasion.
 
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Antman

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No-one checks your shopping trolley on the way out of a supermarket, would be easy to throw in a few extra items too. 99% of people wouldn't though, because that would be stealing.

Strange that if a railway company doesn't check tickets, some people seem to think that means it is okay not to pay.

People see the two things quite differently.

Walk out of a supermarket with a bottle of scotch your haven't paid for and they're £20 out of pocket.

Take a train ride without paying the £20 fare and well the train was going there anyway, there were plenty of empty seats and it didn't cost anymore to run the train because you got on and the train company don't know so what's the harm? A totally victimless crime.

I'm not condoning it but that is how many people see it.
 

Bletchleyite

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I'm not saying either is right, but fare dodging is more like software piracy. Neither is theft, both are more like a form of fraud.

If you steal a product from a supermarket, they have incurred a financial loss to the wholesale value of the product entirely separately from whether, had you not stolen it, you would have bought it.

If you pirate software or travel by train without paying, they have not incurred a financial loss in that way. They have been deprived of income they would have had if you had paid, but if you wouldn't have travelled had you had to pay there is no actual loss.

As I say it doesn't make either OK. But there is something factual in that argument.
 

Mag_seven

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I'm not saying either is right, but fare dodging is more like software piracy. Neither is theft, both are more like a form of fraud.

Disagree - fare dodging is consuming a service that is for sale that you do not pay for. Furthermore each £ lost through dodging is potential income lost that increases the likelihood of fare increases for those who do pay. There is no such thing as a "victimless crime" as some argue.
 

anme

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Disagree - fare dodging is consuming a service that is for sale that you do not pay for. Furthermore each £ lost through dodging is potential income lost that increases the likelihood of fare increases for those who do pay. There is no such thing as a "victimless crime" as some argue.

thefreedictionary.com defines 'theft' as "The unlawful taking of the property of another; larceny" or "the dishonest taking of property belonging to another person with the intention of depriving the owner permanently of its possession". That doesn't seem to cover fare evasion, which does not result in any property being taken.

I suspect we could all think of some "victimless crimes", although I agree that fare evasion is not one of them.
 

Up_Tilt_390

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Fare Evasion is not enforced at all.

Making the appropriate payment/having a valid ticket for one's rail journey may be poorly enforced, I agree.

I must have some Vulcan ancestors or perhaps it's just the fact that I am detectably on the spectrum, but I find just can't ignore the illogical title.

No offence taken, I trust. :)

No offence is taken at all. Don't worry about it :)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
And that they're happy to put up with the fear that on that particular day they will be checked ... and end up with a criminal record.

Actually, fare evasion is a civil offence and therefore will not land you a criminal record, unless the TOC decides to prosecute you and you lose the case in court, which might only happen if you avoid paying several times. But a first time offender isn't likely to get a criminal record if the TOC just goes for an out of court settlement and has you pay a penalty fare or the unpaid fare up front or within 21/28 days (can't remember which). But certainly not a criminal offence.
 

Up_Tilt_390

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Fare evasion is a criminal offence.

That's not what I have heard. It's a civil debt that you have to pay when you get caught, it's not something I've heard anyone get a criminal record for. It seems to me that's just as petty a crime as parking in an invalid space or not picking up dog droppings, it becomes a civil debt you have to pay.
 

Bletchleyite

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Disagree - fare dodging is consuming a service that is for sale that you do not pay for.

Which is not theft. This is a matter of legal fact. Theft cannot occur without taking something with the intent to permanently deprive.

It isn't OK, but it is not theft.

To tackle it one has to understand what it actually is.
 

yorkie

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I can pretty much guarantee that anybody who's travelled on trains has, at one point, had a ticket that never got checked. If you're on a one-way trip or if it's the case both ways of no checks or barriers, then you've essentially just lost a good amount of money on a ticket to travel on a train you could've theoretically just jumped on board without a ticket and travel for free.
Oh no, not that argument again.

There are loads of times someone can get away with not paying for something. Railways are no different.
I'm by no means encouraging anybody to do this, because it's not one bit fair on the paying passengers, but why does this happen sometimes?
Because it wouldn't be economical to put barriers up at every entrance to every station and have sufficient inspectors to inspect all passengers tickets between all stations every train calls at.
For example, I recently travelled from Liverpool Lime Street to Glasgow Central, and the ticket barriers before platforms 1 to 6 at Liverpool have now been removed. So I sat on the train just watching my journey, and all the way to Preston I never had my tickets checked. I did get them checked on the way over the bridge to Platform 4 where my train to Glasgow was due, and they were checked on that train too.
So your ticket was checked! :lol:
But if Northern failed to check the tickets on the train or at the origin station, then someone could've easily just not went across the bridge over the platforms and went back to Liverpool getting off scot-free with fare evasion.
True, if someone didn't check your ticket your ticket would have gone unchecked.
Same thing happened on the way back. It took a while for Virgin to check my tickets, but with one hour between Glasgow and Carlisle, it wouldn't have allowed anyone to travel without a ticket between those destinations. But again, Northern failed to check the tickets on my way from Wigan to Liverpool. Because my ticket covered Liverpool Stations, I proceed to James Street station, and there is actually a lift at the Lime Street concourse that takes you right down to the platform. Then at James Street, there is actually a Water Street entrance with no barriers or checks, so while both the Wirral Line stations have ticket barriers, there are entrances which bypass them.
Again your tickets were checked on this journey. The fact they were not checked on all trains and/or at all stations is immaterial.
After the Northern Rail journey to Preston and boarding the Virgin Trains service to Glasgow, I decided to do a little experiment. The guard will usually walk through the train and ask for tickets for those who joined at a certain station, in this case Preston. I left it for a few seconds, and it actually took me calling the guard to check my ticket because he actually went past my table. I was expecting to be asked for my ticket, and I would've presented it to him, but I never expected to have to ask to get my ticket checked. I've tried an experiment with the Merseyrail loophole too. I had a Saveaway ticket as they were back then, so I had paid to travel on the network. I decided to take the Water Street entrance at James Street, went to the platform, took a train to Lime Street, took the lift to the concourse, and what do you know, nobody was there to check the ticket.

But sometimes this isn't the case, sometimes they do check tickets.
All your experiment proves is that tickets are sometimes checked and sometimes not. I think even Professor Denzil Dexter would reach that conclusion ;)

But the point is, if the system has ways which allow people to avoid paying fares for tickets, should they be surprised when they do? If you ask me, Penalty Fares are basically train companies trying to get back some revenue if they ever do catch a fare evader because their system allowed it.
Chiltern disagree with you http://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/sites/default/files/files/timetables/Chiltern Penalty Fares.pdf
A 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

Some people don't take the risk and always buy a ticket, which I personally advise you to do, but some people actually do avoid paying, and because of the system they sometimes get away with it.
There is no way you can ever have a system that doesn't allow anyone to get away with not having a ticket. It would be completely unaffordable.

I wonder if there are similar proposals on other forums in other areas of life, such as ensuring VED is checked on all journeys, and so on. Would be an interesting read :lol:

London Midland are the worst, because I have never had them check my tickets. Virgin mostly have, but only after certain stations where someone could've got off before hand, and Merseyrail has barriers at stations, but some have paths that bypass them.
I agree that on some LM routes tickets are not checked anywhere near enough.
So what are your thoughts? Is Fare Evasion poorly enforced?
I think you may have to clarify what you mean here. By the way, have you read threads in our disputes & prosecutions forum?
Should companies who have ways that allow people to avoid paying fares be surprised when somebody actually does? Again, I must advise that you to never take chances, and play it fair for the genuine paying customers and always buy a ticket, but you'll have to get over losing money if nobody cares to check it, and I hate to say that but it seems like the case sometimes.
How has a passenger lost money if their ticket is not checked? This just doesn't make sense.
 

Bletchleyite

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That's not what I have heard. It's a civil debt that you have to pay when you get caught, it's not something I've heard anyone get a criminal record for. It seems to me that's just as petty a crime as parking in an invalid space or not picking up dog droppings, it becomes a civil debt you have to pay.

Erm, how about having a read of the Disputes & Prosecutions forum and come back to us?
 

yorkie

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Disagree - fare dodging is consuming a service that is for sale that you do not pay for. Furthermore each £ lost through dodging is potential income lost that increases the likelihood of fare increases for those who do pay. There is no such thing as a "victimless crime" as some argue.
Neil is correct; it's not theft, it's more like fraud, and yes the software piracy comparison is far more appropriate than the supermarket analogy.

Supermarket analogies can never work with railways (except for amusement purposes)
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Actually, fare evasion is a civil offence and therefore will not land you a criminal record
Wrong. Here's plenty of reading material for you: http://www.railforums.co.uk/showthread.php?t=71833
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
That's not what I have heard.
From who? :lol:
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
...it's not something I've heard anyone get a criminal record for.....
In that case you may want to do some reading...

That'll keep you busy for a while ;)
 

Up_Tilt_390

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All your experiment proves is that tickets are sometimes checked and sometimes not. I think even Professor Denzil Dexter would reach that conclusion ;)

But let's be honest, when I HAVE to all the guard to check my ticket, it shows that staff aren't enforcing it as much as they should. I could've easily just not done anything, and in this case I would've just had a ticket gone unchecked. If I didn't have a ticket, I would've just got away with fare evasion.

I think you may have to clarify what you mean here. By the way, have you read threads in our disputes & prosecutions forum?

I actually have read threads there, but most of the ones I've seen are just people saying they would've paid but they didn't, or they didn't have time. I've seen some court case threads, it's an interesting place to see different stories of fare disputes.

How has a passenger lost money if their ticket is not checked? This just doesn't make sense.

I paid £44.50 for a journey from Liverpool to Glasgow. If somebody paid that much for a journey and didn't get them checked, they might think "oh wow, I might as well had just not bought a ticket". Indeed that's something you can only say in hindsight, it's not worth trying in advance cause you never know if your ticket's getting checked, which is why you should always buy a ticket even if you feel like you might not even need to. That's what you should get over.
 

DaveNewcastle

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Actually, fare evasion is a civil offence and therefore will not land you a criminal record, unless . . . . .
This is absolutely incorrect.
Railway Fare Evasion is a Criminal Offence and has been for over a century. It is prosecuted in Magistrates Courts thousands of times a year, and with a very, very high success rate.

It even has its own page in the Magistrates Sentencing Guidelines.

I struggle to think of more than a handful which have been pursued as Civil matters since re-privatisation.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
So what are your thoughts? Is Fare Evasion poorly enforced?
There has to be some serious misunderstanding here.
Railway Companies conduct an intelligence-led revenue protection strategy, based on ticket sales, head counts and revenues. The cost of enforcement of fare collection is balanced against the calculated impact of targetted enforcement. If greater benefit was to be achieved by switching strategies, then the Revenue Protection managers would be pleased to hear from you. Anecdotes about tickets which HAD been paid for and which had NOT been checked are of no assistance at all.

What possible benefit could accrue from the enforcement of fare evasion?
None that I can see, even with a consideration of the wildest anti-societal views, and certainly none from a commercial point of view.
 

Agent_c

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I guess for the TOCs it comes down to cost vs gain. If a TOC expects a ticket check is going to cost more than the check is going to bring in, then they shouldn't do it.

Personally, I think we should be giving guards more authority and legal clearance. If a guard finds a "Wont pay, never attempted to pay" passenger, then subject to them not being an obviously vulnerable person (Child, disabled, etc) I say let the guard man-handle em off.
 

yorkie

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But let's be honest, when I HAVE to all the guard to check my ticket
You do not HAVE to.
it shows that staff aren't enforcing it as much as they should.
There is not necessarily any wrongdoing by staff; staff may be doing everything that they "should" or could be doing but that does not guarantee they will be checking your ticket.
I could've easily just not done anything, and in this case I would've just had a ticket gone unchecked. If I didn't have a ticket, I would've just got away with fare evasion.
There are loads of things we could have got away with doing in life.
I actually have read threads there, but most of the ones I've seen are just people saying they would've paid but they didn't, or they didn't have time. I've seen some court case threads, it's an interesting place to see different stories of fare disputes.
Well obviously you've not read the right ones. Have a read of our legal section!

I paid £44.50 for a journey from Liverpool to Glasgow. If somebody paid that much for a journey and didn't get them checked, they might think "oh wow, I might as well had just not bought a ticket"
They can think what they want.

Indeed that's something you can only say in hindsight, it's not worth trying in advance cause you never know if your ticket's getting checked, which is why you should always buy a ticket even if you feel like you might not even need to. That's what you should get over.
So, just what is the conclusion of your experiment then, as I'm a bit confused.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Personally, I think we should be giving guards more authority and legal clearance. If a guard finds a "Wont pay, never attempted to pay" passenger, then subject to them not being an obviously vulnerable person (Child, disabled, etc) I say let the guard man-handle em off.
Never gonna happen. If someone needs to be physically removed, then leave it to the police. Trying to manhandle someone is not wise.

In my job I've had some rather uncooperative people to deal with, but I've only ever used physical force to prevent others being injured, which is a quite different matter altogether. Using physical force to remove someone from a train due to a fare dispute is not something a Guard should ever attempt.
 
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