Don’t cross the line!
That’s the warning being issued to persistent fare evaders on the Northern network.
The rail operator has recently launched a new campaign aimed at making sure its customer buy tickets before they board trains.
And the vast majority of rail travellers are following the rules, using Northern’s website, mobile app or one of the 600 ticket machines at stations across the rail network in the north.
Sadly, there are some who persist in trying to fare dodge and, in 2020 alone, there were more than 8,300 court prosecutions for people trying to avoid paying for their travel.
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.”
In 2020, 30,000 penalty fares were issued by Northern and, for the vast majority of people who received the £20 fines, that was the end of the story.
Some, however, either refused to pay or were found to be persistent fare dodgers.
Jason 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 heft 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 a stark message ‘cross the line, risk a fine’.
Jason said: “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.
“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.”