If we were starting with a blank piece of paper...

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Oswyntail

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Many threads on here concern a passenger travelling without a ticket. Reasons for this vary from the valid to the criminal. What strikes me is the variety of procedures and regulations applicable, and the approaches to implementing these.
So, as a theoretical exercise, let us put aside the current law (even if it has been around for 150 years), and our assumptions about the general public, TOCs or staff, and answer the following question:-
"What would be the most efficient and effective procedure for addressing the situation where a passenger is travelling without a ticket, taking into account the varying circumstances in which this may occur?"
Answers may include both on-train and off-train phases, discussion of conflicting priorities between TOC, staff, and passenger, differences between long- and short-distance travel, and what, if any, technology might be required to implement a perfect solution. And anything else felt to be relevant!
There, that should keep us busy for the next ten years!
 
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sburnley

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"What would be the most efficient and effective procedure for addressing the situation where a passenger is travelling without a ticket, taking into account the varying circumstances in which this may occur?"

I think that a better question would be "What would be the most efficient and effective procedure(s) for ensuring that passengers attempting to travel without a ticket (or some alternative, valid, form of authorisation) are prevented from so doing?"
 

amcluesent

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I guess the criteria are -

Make evasion quite difficult\costly
Eliminate delays to other pax by waiting for BTP etc.
Minimise enforcement costs
Provide a visisble deterent to others

So my soluton is that anyone found without a valid ticket by the guard is tie-wrapped to the luggage rack until the train returns to depot at the end of the day, where they can be released and sent on their way.
 
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Clip

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Its extremly tough to try and work around something like this which is suitable for all and I think the UPFN is a good thing to have. But then I also think having the PF system is a good thing, even if it catches out people.

But you should have specifically tailored ways of dealing with each incident because we all know that once these get known about the fare dodgers will try them on until caught out - like Oyster was abused and still is from passengers travelling from outside the zones.

Its a massive minefield
 

sburnley

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There have to be sufficient barriers and/or ticket inspectors to minimise the likelihood of anyone getting access to a train without a ticket but ensuring that passengers with tickets get through quickly. It's not impossible, however, to defeat any system if you are determined enough.

On the train it should be up to the conductor/ inspector to use their experience and judgement, plus the applicable law to determine the course of action whern they find someone without a ticket. They must have heard every imaginable excuse by now. (Not sure about tying fare dodgers to the luggage rack :) - they'd have to be fed every so often.)

One of the most effective ways to deal with it would be to blitz lines or trains and adopt a zero tolerance approach with penalty fares or court proceedings. I'm sure the message would quickly filter through.

Train companies should carry out more ticket inspections where practicable. I have been on very many London Midland journeys (with a valid ticket of course!) where there have been no ticket checks whatsoever. This can only encourage people to try it on.
 

dzug2

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On the train it should be up to the conductor/ inspector to use their experience and judgement, .
The problem with that is however good he is, some of the time he is going to be wrong. That is he is going to treat a genuine mistake as a deliberate fare dodger.

And some of them are going to be better than others.
 

Oswyntail

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Please also remember that there are legitimate reasons for not having a ticket, and the procedures put forward should be able to handle these without making the passenger feel like a criminal - so tying to the luggage rack might not be appropriate.
 

cuccir

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As has been identified, the task is a play-off between a few different features: need to collect revenue; need to ensure efficient passenger movement; need to catch fare dodgers; need to provide good customer service so that people come back.

TBH I don't think that there is tooo much wrong with the system as it is. I'd love for there to be better ways to differentiate between fare dodgers and those who've made mistakes, and in some cases I think there are (railcard forgetting, for example, could be reformed), but in many cases it would also be very difficult and cumbersome to do so in ways which don't create huge loopholes for dodgers to jump through.

One issue is I think that people maybe don't realise quite how serious not travelling with a ticket can be - too often on here we see posts where people have innocently forgotten/mislaid a ticket, or less-innocently hopped onto a train despite regularly buying tickets, and have been surprised to find themselves charged with criminal offences. Getting the message out - being caught once, without a ticket, no matter what your excuse or how regularly you by a ticket, is often enough to get you prosecuted - might be a good idea to start with.

--
In fact, to that end, I think the system would be much fairer if first-time fare evaders did not receive a criminal record, unless intent was proved (I've no idea how this would work legally!). Fine people the first time: if they were honest and made a mistake, then it's cost them money but they can move on; if they were chancing it, they know a criminal record will await them if they try it again.
 

aformeruser

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There isn't a blanket solution.

Compare ticket selling facilities in Merseyside with that in Cheshire. People starting their journeys in Merseyside have less excuses for not having a ticket than those in Cheshire.
 

exile

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"What would be the most efficient and effective procedure for addressing the situation where a passenger is travelling without a ticket, taking into account the varying circumstances in which this may occur?"

I think that a better question would be "What would be the most efficient and effective procedure(s) for ensuring that passengers attempting to travel without a ticket (or some alternative, valid, form of authorisation) are prevented from so doing?"
The existence of unstaffed or partly staffed stations makes this impossible.
 

Fare-Cop

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A good start would be to place very prominent signs at every station platform access, vandal-proof as much as practical, in very large and bold lettering which state:

PLEASE BE AWARE - IF YOU DO NOT HOLD A VALID RAIL TICKET AND BOARD ANY TRAIN AT A STATION WHERE FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE ONE, BUT FAIL TO OBTAIN A TICKET FOR YOUR WHOLE INTENDED JOURNEY BEFORE JOINING ANY TRAIN, YOU WILL BE LIABLE TO PROSECUTION. (See National Railway Byelaw 18.)
Maximum penalty upon conviction can be a fine of up to £1000.

Repeat that warning in smaller type in French, Arabic & Welsh as specimen alternative languages underneath the main signage and we don't need to alter the system as it is now.

At stations where there are no facilities the sign should read

IF YOU DO NOT HOLD A VALID RAIL TICKET , YOU MUST APPROACH STAFF AND DECLARE YOUR INTENDED JOURNEY & PAY THE FARE DUE AS SOON AS YOU BOARD THE TRAIN OR AT THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO. FAILURE TO COMPLY MAY MEAN YOU WILL BE REPORTED AND COULD BE LIABLE TO PROSECUTION.

If posted prominently and big enough, the 'I didn't know the rules' or 'Nobody told me' excuses are dealt with, the deterrent value is enhanced, the genuine will soon learn to make time to comply and the fare evader has had fair warning.
 
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exile

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Well, there are such signs - but, since rail staff have said on other threads that a passenger with a sufficiently aggressive attitude is unlikely to be challenged by on train staff who are under instructions to avoid confrontation and anything that might delay the train......
 

WestCoast

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There isn't a blanket solution.

Compare ticket selling facilities in Merseyside with that in Cheshire. People starting their journeys in Merseyside have less excuses for not having a ticket than those in Cheshire.
Well, quite, there are a lot of inconsistencies across the network and policies do vary. That's why there is no perfect blanket solution unless all these variables are eliminated.

For a comparison, here's how some of the UK's continental neighbours deal with the problem. I always think that examining the procedures of others is a useful exercise in any part of life/business/public services.

In the Netherlands, everything is very simple due to the uncomplicated fare system. All stations served by NS (Abellio) have a TVM and a touch-in/touch-out pad for the Chipkaart (which works like Oyster). There's also a ticket office at many stations or a newsagent/shop that sells tickets and tops up cards. Onboard staff can't actually issue tickets (only penalties), and if a passenger has been unable to buy a ticket (very unlikely), they must contact the guard immediately after boarding. I believe they are strict with fare dodgers, and staff will call the police if necessary but this is only what I've heard from friends. Checks can be less consistent at off-peak times, partly because the trains are very large.

In Belgium, there are some stations without TVMs, but most have some sort of ticket purchasing facilities. At stations with TVMs/offices - passengers without tickets must tell the guard/RPI before boarding and they will sell a standard ticket onboard once the passenger is seated subject to an extra fee of 3 euros. This doesn't apply if the TVM was broken e.t.c. If you don't inform staff, then a ticket may be sold subject to a 12 euros supplement. Non-payers - if they can prove their name and address with an identity card - are subject to a 60 euros fine, rising to 200 euros if not paid at a station within 14 days. No identity means removal if you can't pay immediately, with police if necessary.

There are no perfect systems, but I do like finding out how other systems deal with the issue of tickets. Of course, this varies massively all over the world and some practices will suit the UK and others won't.
 
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Yew

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I think our current system is 80% of the way there. However im worried that any reforms would be biased towards TOC's. I think if a few changes where made

- Some system that specifies a minimum time to be at the station before, so if you dont get served in that time, you can board a train without a ticket with no penalty
- Something for railcards?
- A 'forgotten ticket' service (a UPFN that is cancelled if you send your ticket in?)
- A reform of penalty fares
- The removal of 'strict liability' on byelaw offences
- A reweite of the RoRA from the 19th century, to include modern day things
- No doubt a few things ive forgotten
 

Fare-Cop

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Well, there are such signs - but, since rail staff have said on other threads that a passenger with a sufficiently aggressive attitude is unlikely to be challenged by on train staff who are under instructions to avoid confrontation and anything that might delay the train......
Agreed, but the fact is that on this country's railways we try to not make the signs too prominent, because we are constantly obsessed with the flawed idea that giving any instruction is too 'confrontational'.

In fact, bigger, clearer signs clarify and inform and by so doing, reduce the unnecessary clashes that do occur through ignorance.

The mindless thuggery, verbal and physical will always be there and that tiny minority will always be a problem, but I would prefer to see better information, boldly and prominently displayed to send a clear message to the majority.
 

yorkie

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I don't understand the purpose of this thread. If it's intended to ask how to deal with people fare evading then it is not at all made clear, as it simply refers to people without a ticket, who may be wanting to buy a ticket or may be refusing to pay. How on earth can we then come up with something to cover completely different circumstances and on all types of train imaginable? Are we meant to write an essay into on board ticket procedures?
A good start would be to place very prominent signs at every station platform access, vandal-proof as much as practical, in very large and bold lettering which state:

PLEASE BE AWARE - IF YOU DO NOT HOLD A VALID RAIL TICKET AND BOARD ANY TRAIN AT A STATION WHERE FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE ONE, BUT FAIL TO OBTAIN A TICKET FOR YOUR WHOLE INTENDED JOURNEY BEFORE JOINING ANY TRAIN, YOU WILL BE LIABLE TO PROSECUTION. (See National Railway Byelaw 18.)
Maximum penalty upon conviction can be a fine of up to £1000.
That would be quite damaging to the TOCs that do allow on-board purchases, and also quite worrying to passengers making journeys such as Poppleton-Dewsbury, Headingley-Manchester and so on, who would then be under the impression that they have to delay themselves at the interchange station or be prosecuted.

The suggestion seems pointless because there are already notices such as this on trains, and at platforms, where this policy applies! What's wrong with the existing signs?
 

Lampshade

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I think our current system is 80% of the way there. However im worried that any reforms would be biased towards TOC's. I think if a few changes where made

- Some system that specifies a minimum time to be at the station before, so if you dont get served in that time, you can board a train without a ticket with no penalty
Too open to abuse, people would just say they got to the station 'X' minutes before the train.

- Something for railcards?
I agree, it should work like season tickets whereby if you forget the railcard, buy a new ticket then apply for a refund once the railcard is produced. My theory on why this isn't already the case is that season ticket holders are the 'loyal customers' and passengers with railcards would be paying less than they otherwise would do, so are looked upon less favourably than season ticket holders.

- A 'forgotten ticket' service (a UPFN that is cancelled if you send your ticket in?)
Isn't that already the case?
 

MarkyMarkD

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There have to be sufficient barriers and/or ticket inspectors to minimise the likelihood of anyone getting access to a train without a ticket but ensuring that passengers with tickets get through quickly.
Barriers are all very well, but only if they are used reasonably.

On one journey I have made several times recently, 2 out of the 4 sets of barriers concerned reject my ticket on every journey - because they are set up wrongly, not because the route is invalid.

And my wife/daughter and I missed a train at Liverpool Street (LST) we could perfectly well have caught, because the barriers had been set (I presume) to reject all railcard-supported tickets for personal inspection - and the barrier staff member was tied up with some other customers with a dodgy ticket.

Oh, and I nearly missed a train at Rochester (RTR) because the only member of station staff was filling the only automated ticket machine up with coins, hence cancelling out two methods of buying a ticket in one fell swoop for about 5 minutes, 7 minutes before a train was due to depart. D'oh!
 

Yew

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Too open to abuse, people would just say they got to the station 'X' minutes before the train.
I think a solution posted was that you get a 'ticket' on arrival (like you might get at the buchers counter in a supermarket, or in some shoe shops) with the time you arrived printed on it, and then it shows the guard you arrived in suitable time and to let you buy discounted tickets on board
 

Fare-Cop

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I don't understand the purpose of this thread. If it's intended to ask how to deal with people fare evading then it is not at all made clear, as it simply refers to people without a ticket, who may be wanting to buy a ticket or may be refusing to pay. How on earth can we then come up with something to cover completely different circumstances and on all types of train imaginable? Are we meant to write an essay into on board ticket procedures?

That would be quite damaging to the TOCs that do allow on-board purchases, and also quite worrying to passengers making journeys such as Poppleton-Dewsbury, Headingley-Manchester and so on, who would then be under the impression that they have to delay themselves at the interchange station or be prosecuted.

The suggestion seems pointless because there are already notices such as this on trains, and at platforms, where this policy applies! What's wrong with the existing signs?

I didn't say signage such as this one you picked on must be applied at all stations,

I did offer the alternative signage for those stations where there are no pre-purchase facilities, or where pay-on-train is allowed.

The point is that current signage is pretty insignificant, uses relatively small fonts and easily missed and therefore ineffective.

I understood the thread to be an 'open book' whereby all contributory factors might be suggested and which if taken up, might create change, which could improve things on our railways.

I just chose to refer to an issue that is frequently the source of complaints relating to revenue protection and prosecutions as my particular field of expertise.

I'm sure that others will have ideas about their specific fields too.

EDIT: I saw someone has referred to barriers and this always crops up when access & ticketing is discussed, but it has to be remembered that automatic barriers are a poor deterrent to fare evasion. All the barrier line ever does is protect the minimum fare from any given station.
 
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cuccir

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A good start would be to place very prominent signs at every station platform access, vandal-proof as much as practical, in very large and bold lettering which state:

PLEASE BE AWARE - IF YOU DO NOT HOLD A VALID RAIL TICKET AND BOARD ANY TRAIN AT A STATION WHERE FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE ONE, BUT FAIL TO OBTAIN A TICKET FOR YOUR WHOLE INTENDED JOURNEY BEFORE JOINING ANY TRAIN, YOU WILL BE LIABLE TO PROSECUTION. (See National Railway Byelaw 18.)
Maximum penalty upon conviction can be a fine of up to £1000.

Repeat that warning in smaller type in French, Arabic & Welsh as specimen alternative languages underneath the main signage and we don't need to alter the system as it is now.

At stations where there are no facilities the sign should read

IF YOU DO NOT HOLD A VALID RAIL TICKET , YOU MUST APPROACH STAFF AND DECLARE YOUR INTENDED JOURNEY & PAY THE FARE DUE AS SOON AS YOU BOARD THE TRAIN OR AT THE FIRST OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO. FAILURE TO COMPLY MAY MEAN YOU WILL BE REPORTED AND COULD BE LIABLE TO PROSECUTION.

If posted prominently and big enough, the 'I didn't know the rules' or 'Nobody told me' excuses are dealt with, the deterrent value is enhanced, the genuine will soon learn to make time to comply and the fare evader has had fair warning.
You don't know much about marketing and customer service do you?

First of all, your assertions about approaching staff are misleading. There's no oblibgation to approach staff, not in the least because they might be doing far more important things!

Second, this would be perceived very negatively by the travelling public. People don't like the assertion that they are intending to fare evade all the time, or are too stupid to know the rules. Excessive ticket checks and excessive reminder of the regulations put people off using the train.
 

yorkie

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First of all, your assertions about approaching staff are misleading.
Agreed. This thread has nothing to do with reality. It's pure fantasy! I am moving it to General Discussion as I do not want to mislead anyone into thinking this has anything to do with fares, ticketing & routeing.

At stations where it is compulsory to buy before boarding, there are very clear notices explaining the fact. Yes there should be more of these signs at such locations, perhaps the fonts should be bigger. But really only minor changes may be needed. If some people are suggesting that we extend such schemes to locations, routes, or services where it is inappropriate to do so, then that is most disappointing.
 

150222

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Discresion would be used.

If there is a valid reason for the passenger not having a ticket then they would be asked to purchase the required ticket there and then. Railcard discounts accepted.

If the person is accidently using a ticket not valid for their journey (or mis-using an Oyster card) then a penalty fair of £50 would be payable. This would reduce to £20 if payed within 14 days.

If the person is deliberatly fair evading then they would be handed a fixed penalty notice of £1000. Failure to pay would lead to prosecution.
 

Fare-Cop

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You don't know much about marketing and customer service do you?
Having run a successful retail business for 12 years alongside more than 30 years experience of railways revenue protection, I'd take issue with that personally, but I cannot see why I should bother when you are so quick to jump to conclusions about someone you don't know, it is clear we couldn't have any meaningful discussion on the subject.

This thread is about what could work if we were not constrained by current dogma.

First of all, your assertions about approaching staff are misleading. There's no oblibgation to approach staff, not in the least because they might be doing far more important things!
Have a look at how it works on some railways where that is EXACTLY what the signs say. E.G; Docklands Light Railway for a start. Have a read of the past case precedents to see what the appeal court think about whether the traveller without ticket is required to approach staff and declare their journey or not?

Second, this would be perceived very negatively by the travelling public. People don't like the assertion that they are intending to fare evade all the time, or are too stupid to know the rules. Excessive ticket checks and excessive reminder of the regulations put people off using the train.
Absolute rubbish and a perfect example of the woolly thinking that pervades many 'customer' relations departments, thankfully now changing in some of the more enlightened companies.

'Oh I am sorry that the nasty man asked you to pay to ride on our train, he shouldn't have been so rude, don't worry, we'll soon have him disciplined' isn't going to improve things.

There is no assertion that anyone is evading a fare if you simply take steps to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the rules.

Have a look at what has been happening recently on some TOCs where a harder line is being taken. The companies that deal with this best are those that recognise that no-one is a customer until they have paid you for a service or goods. The law refers to such people on railways as 'travellers' or 'passengers', but never 'customers'.

98% of the travelling public are honest, fare-paying travellers and are very happy to see regular checks that weed out those who do not want to pay.

Yes, you will no doubt come up with the usual 'dinosaur' description in relation to my thinking, however, the current management process isn't changing fast enough nor substantially enough to effect improvement. I'm happy with the tag.
 
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LCC106

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I'm not involved with revenue, so much of this is beyond my knowledge, but what about posters on the stations with photos of fare dodgers from that line and their fine imprinted across them? Won't deter everyone, just a thought...
 

Fare-Cop

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I'm not involved with revenue, so much of this is beyond my knowledge, but what about posters on the stations with photos of fare dodgers from that line and their fine imprinted across them? Won't deter everyone, just a thought...
It's been suggested many times, some companies post lists of recent court results (no names or photographs) and the company's customer relations people have a fit!

I can never understand why, because the information regarding anyone convicted of fare evasion is in the public domain anyway - it is recorded in open court and often published in the local press
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Make all trains free at point of use. That's the only way fare evasion would be eliminated.
I once suggested this to a local council in relation to a short route, local tram service that they owned and subsidised heavily - we had been asked to survey the problem.

I said, make provision to put the cost openly on the council tax bill and effectively share it with everyone who has access and the right to use the service then let people use it free of further charge. Give all your council tax payers & their direct dependents domiciled at home a free pass and everyone else has to pay a fare.

You'd have thought I had personally accused everyone of them of a major crime judging by the reaction!!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Agreed. This thread has nothing to do with reality. It's pure fantasy! I am moving it to General Discussion as I do not want to mislead anyone into thinking this has anything to do with fares, ticketing & routeing.

At stations where it is compulsory to buy before boarding, there are very clear notices explaining the fact. Yes there should be more of these signs at such locations, perhaps the fonts should be bigger. But really only minor changes may be needed. If some people are suggesting that we extend such schemes to locations, routes, or services where it is inappropriate to do so, then that is most disappointing.
No, I wasn't suggesting that 'pay on train' routes should be abandoned in any sense, merely that the appropriate signage should be used and should be very clearly displayed in prominent positions at access points.

The current signage does leave a lot to be desired.
 
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Oswyntail

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I don't understand the purpose of this thread. If it's intended to ask how to deal with people fare evading then it is not at all made clear, as it simply refers to people without a ticket, who may be wanting to buy a ticket or may be refusing to pay. How on earth can we then come up with something to cover completely different circumstances and on all types of train imaginable? ...
OK, let's get an example. A passenger is on a train without a ticket. Firstly, how does a member of staff determine correctly whether there is a genuine reason for this? If there is, how does the staff member proceed without making the passenger feel they are part of the criminal system (It is too obvious from many threads here that the default mode even in these circumstances is to talk of penalties and fines). Secondly, how should the staff member deal with the various gradations of holding no ticket in contradiction to the rules; e.g. should any difference be seen between the person who boarded at an unmanned station, but who has passed through a station issuing tickets before the staff member found them, and the lady who says she never buys tickets, s f-off; what levels of discretion should there be; what levels of legal action should there be.
Too often, the default assumption seems to be that anyone without a ticket is a hard-dyed fare evader, deserving of the worst treatment. I suspect this is as much because (as with so much) the relevant systems and procedures have been allowed to evolve through custom without taking any notice of changes in laws and society. What I would like to examine is what should be the process. If it turns out that it needs varying dependent on area or type of train, then that itself is interesting. But it should not be impossible to devise a clear, simple set of consistent rules and guidelines, so that staff have something that can be confidently implemented - and the public can be clearly informed. Neither of which seems to be the case at present.
 
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