Fare dodgers warned of increased penalties

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Translink is putting a spotlight on fare evasion with on the spot penalty fares rising to a £50 fine from June 13 for fare dodgers that don’t have a valid ticket for travel.

Hilton Parr, Head of Rail Services at Translink, said: “Our Penalty Fares System is designed to protect the majority of customers from the minority of people who travel without a valid ticket for the journey they are making.

“Attempted fraud is something we take very seriously and as such we have also taken a number of successful prosecution cases to courts which have resulted in fines and costs to the passenger greatly exceeding the cost of the original journey.

“Since 2013, we have collected over £8,500 in penalty fares.”

In a recent case a passenger had to pay almost 30 times the cost of their normal day return ticket between Whitehead and Belfast, following an attempt to avoid paying the fare.

Instead of paying the adult day return fare, the passenger was ordered to pay a £100 fine plus £162 costs by for travelling without a valid ticket.

Translink say the new tariff is in line with fines for other offences such as misuse of car parking spaces and is a more appropriate deterrent to stop this kind of anti-social behaviour.

Hilton added: “If the financial impacts aren’t enough to put people off then we would also remind them that they could also end up with a conviction at court - it’s simply just not worth the risk.

“We know the majority of passengers are more than conscientious about paying the full fare for their journey however a minority will always try to cheat the system.

“We will be advising our customers about this change to penalty fares through posters in stations and on board trains. Our revenue protection teams can be seen daily around the network to reinforce the message about carrying a valid ticket for travel.”