Northern issues stark warning to passengers in clampdown on persistent fair dodgers
Northern has issued a stark warning to rail passengers in a clampdown on persistent fare dodgers.
'Don't cross the line' is the message of its new campaign, aimed at making sure its customers buy tickets before they board trains.
There were more than 8,300 court prosecutions in 2020 for people trying to avoid paying for their travel on Northern lines.
Northern is reminding passengers to buy before they travel - using its website, mobile app or one of the 600 ticket machines at stations across the rail network.
Jason Wade, head of retail operations at Northern, said: “There are plenty of ways for our customers to buy tickets and we’ve made big improvements to our website, app and ticket machines in recent months.
“There are still some, however, who think they can travel without paying and we are doing all we can to tackle this small minority who think they are above the law.
“We have penalty fares in place across most routes of the Northern network which can see those who do not have valid tickets issued with on-the-spot fines.”
More than 30,000 fines were issued by the rail operator in 2020 - the vast majority of which were £20 fines that were paid on time, Northern said.
But some fare dodgers refused to pay, or were found to be persistent culprits.
Mr Wade added: “In some cases we are reluctantly left with no option but to take the matter to court where the average fine in the past 12 months has been just over £400.
“A court appearance is very much the last resort and not something who choose to do lightly, but prospective fare dodgers should be aware that trying to avoid even a small value ticket could result in a hefty fine and even a criminal record.”
To help remind people of the need to buy a ticket before they board a train, Northern has added red lines at some of its station entrances with the message: ‘cross the line, risk a fine’.
“We want everyone to be aware of the requirement to have a valid ticket for travel and are doing all we can to remind our customers," Jason said.
“Most people will already have bought tickets before they get to our stations and we hope that these additional warnings will also encourage the small minority who don’t have tickets to buy before they board.”
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