EMR issues warning to train fare dodgers over ‘no battery excuse’ and risk of £100 penalty fare

Train passengers in Leeds have been warned to ensure their mobile phones have enough battery life to allow for ticket inspection.
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A train operator has issued a warning to train passengers in Leeds to ensure their mobile phones have enough battery life to allow them to produce their ticket and electronic railcard for inspection, or they risk receiving a £100 fine.

East Midlands Railway said whilst there may be a legitimate reason for customers who are caught ‘power short’, the staff have no means of finding out between those genuine customers and those deliberately attempting to avoid paying, which could result in a national penalty fare.

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According to them, ticket gateline staff have access to phone chargers and could ask customers to charge their device so they could show their e-tickets or buy another ticket.

If charging is not possible, then customers are required to buy another ticket or risk being fined.

Neil Grabham, customer services director at East Midlands Railway, said: “Customers not only have a duty to buy a ticket before they board one of our trains – but also they must be able to present it for inspection.

"Some fraudulent travellers think they can avoid paying for an e-ticket by pretending they bought one and then informing EMR staff that their phone has no charge when challenged. This excuse won’t work and if the phone cannot be charged, EMR enforcement officers will issue penalty fares.

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"The majority of our trains provide customers the opportunity to charge their phones, while many of our gatelines have chargers available as needed. For the railway to successfully operate, improve, and secure investment, fares need to be paid for and if you choose to deliberately avoid paying for a ticket you should expect to receive a £100 penalty fare. Don’t risk it, buy a ticket!"

Fare evaders are prosecuted under the provisions of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 and the Railway Byelaws made pursuant to the Transport Act 2000. A Penalty Fare may be charged if the customer:

  • Travels without a valid ticket
  • Is unable to produce the appropriate Railcard
  • Travels in First Class accommodation with a Standard ticket
  • Are 16 or over travelling on a child rate ticket
  • Travels beyond the destination of the ticket