TfL arms staff with body worn cameras in the face of 'violence and aggression' as it hikes penalty fares
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It investigated 421 people for habitual fare evasion who made more than 50,000 irregular journeys across the Underground network.
The authority has announced the penalty fare is being raised from £80 to £100, although that is halved if paid within 21 days.
The transport body estimates that it lost about £130m in income due to fare dodging in the 2022-23 financial year. Some 3.9% of journeys were unpaid in that period – about one in 25.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “TfL relies on revenue from fares to be able to deliver the safe, clean and reliable public transport that Londoners deserve. Fare evasion deprives us of much needed revenue and so I welcome this tough new action from TfL to increase enforcement and ensure more fare evaders are brought to justice.”
TfL says it has improved its ability to investigate and detect the most prolific offenders causing the greatest revenue loss. Its irregular travel analysis platform (ITAP) detects fare evasion from patterns in ticketing and passenger data, identifying people who avoided paying for all or part of their journey.
A register of regular offenders that ITAP has identified for unusual travel patterns has been created. They may be prioritised for further investigation and subsequent prosecution, TfL said.
TfL gave the example of a recent case where a passenger used a contactless payment card and failed to validate correctly for their journeys. An investigation identified 193 occasions of fare evasion which totalled unpaid fares of over £1,200. The passenger pleaded guilty in court to all the offences.
Siwan Hayward, TfL’s director of security, policing and enforcement, said: “The overwhelming majority of our customers pay the correct fare, however a minority do attempt to travel without a valid ticket.
“Fare evasion is a criminal offence. Fare evasion robs Londoners of vital investment in safe, frequent and reliable transport. Fare evasion impacts our customers and our staff, and can make public transport feel unsafe. Sadly, fare evasion is often a trigger for violence and aggression towards our colleagues.
“We strive to ensure that wherever possible it is fare evaders themselves, not fare or taxpayers, pay the cost of fare evasion. As today’s data shows, anyone who evades fares will be caught and have to pay the consequences.”