Northampton's train operator recovers £800,000 from barrier jumpers

Over 1m has been recovered from ticketless rail travellers in the past year.
Over 1m has been recovered from ticketless rail travellers in the past year.

Over £800,000 of revenue has been recovered from ticketless rail travellers using London Northwestern Railway in one year.

Ticket operators for London Northwestern Railway and West Midlands Railway recovered a total of £1,284,746 of unpaid fares during the financial year to April 2019.

Of that total, £876,483 was recovered from passengers on London Northwestern Railway services and £408,463 was recovered from passengers on West Midlands Railway services.

These figures cover both Penalty Fare Notices and tickets sold to passengers at stations, attempting to board trains without paying.

For repeat offenders, unpaid Penalty Fare Notices and where there is sufficient evidence that someone has been deliberately travelling fraudulently, court cases can be brought.

3,038 such court cases were heard over the past year, with £462,292.95 recovered in costs and revenue.

Sean McBroom, head of on board experience for London Northwestern Railway, said: “We know that our fare paying passengers find ticketless travel a real issue, and we are committed to tackling this as best we can.

"We have been trialling a new route-based approach to help inform our revenue protection activity, so passengers will see our teams out at stations and on trains more frequently.

“We always advise passengers to purchase a ticket before travelling – either from station staff, ticket vending machines, online, or via the London Northwestern Railway or West Midlands Railway apps. Anyone found travelling without a ticket will be liable to a penalty fare if they are found travelling on our services.”

The train operators issued a total of 19,579 penalty fares during this period and 95 per cent of these Penalty Fares were enforced last year, with just five per cent being successfully appealed.

Penalty fares are issued to anyone found travelling without a ticket, where they started their journey from a station where ticket purchasing facilities were available.

These can be issued by teams stationed at ticket barriers, but also by 'revenue protection managers' on trains across the rail network.

These cost passengers either £20 or twice the walk up single ticket cost, whichever is greater.

During March 2019 alone, revenue protection teams spent 1,163 hours across the London Northwestern Railway network, and 705 hours was spent on trains and 458 hours we spent at stations.