A lot of people pay the train fare, make a face and move on. Some don’t however and they can be subject to penalty fare fines.
In the past, this was £20. This will now be increased to up to £100 from the 2nd of January 2023.
It’s going to be even more crucial that you have a valid ticket for your journey.
The penalty charge is reduced from £100 to £50 if paid within 21 days. The move applies to journeys within England only.
According to the DfT, fare evasion costs the rail industry around £240million a year as part of the justification to raise the fine – the other part is that a £20 fine is nothing to some people.
It marks the first change in penalty fares since 2005.
A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said:
“This increase in penalty fares, the first in 16 years, should deter the minority of people who want to travel for free at the expense of other passengers. Fare dodging is unfair because it means less money to invest in improving services or keeping fares down for all our customers.”
The Department for Transport has been its usual coy self about putting out a public release, rather it’s at https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2022/1094/contents/made where one has to dig to page 5 to find the detail– rather feeding sources such as the BBC, whilst making a Twitter post.
Buy the right tickets and know your rights
Ticket Validity is critically important when you travel, as penalty fares can be issued for various reasons. National Rail Enquires notes these:
- travel without a valid ticket;
- are unable to produce an appropriate Railcard on a discounted ticket;
- travel in First Class accommodation with a Standard class ticket;
- are aged 16 or over, travelling on a child rate ticket;
- travel beyond the destination on your ticket.
The term “valid ticket” is important, as this covers travelling outside a ticket’s usage time too.
National Rail Enquiries have a page about penalty fares and those train companies which operate them at https://www.nationalrail.co.uk/times_fares/ticket_types/187936.aspx
With risks of up to £100 fines, plus the cost of a train ticket, hopefully, it might make those who attempt to skip paying train fares re-consider their actions.
How it will work in the real world is, of course, another matter.
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