Northern has underlined its commitment to protecting public money by saving more than £10m in fraudulently claimed refunds in the past 18 months.
The train operator, which has been publicly owned since March 2020, has its own specialist team of investigators and is also working with colleagues at Trainline to stamp out refund fraud.
Fraudulently claimed refunds cost the industry tens of millions of pounds each year, money which could otherwise have been reinvested in delivering further improvements for customers.
To tackle the issue, Northern’s own team of investigators and colleagues at Trainline have been working hard to identify offenders and block fake claims.
Jason Wade, Head of Retail Operations at Northern, said: “Our customers are at the heart of all we do and we want to ensure we are able to reinvest as much money as possible into making the improvements those customers want to see across the Northern network.
“Sadly, all too often, our investigators find there are those who try to make fake refund claims to effectively steal public money from the railway. This doesn’t just harm Northern as an operator, it means those funds are then not available to put back into making the network the best it can be.”
“We have to stay one step ahead of people trying to make fraudulent claims and our team, together with our partners at Trainline, are constantly developing new methods of identifying fake claims and then blocking future claims from offenders.
“This approach has meant that in the past 18 months we have been able to prevent more than £10m of public money being lost to fraudulent claims.”
Champa Magesh, President at Trainline Partner Solutions, said: “Working with Northern to reduce fraud has meant we are saving taxpayer money and helping our partner reinvest these funds for the good of their customers.
“This reinvestment will, ultimately, help make the train travel experience for rail users in the North even more seamless, encouraging more people to choose the train over other less sustainable forms of transport.”
The work being carried out to tackle fake claims goes hand-in-hand with Northern’s other revenue protection activity which is all aimed at ensuring vital funds are retained by the railway to allow for further investment and improvements.
Jason added: “Fraud and ticketless travel are, thankfully, carried out by a small minority of people, but the impact is wide-ranging and far from victimless.
“It is fare-paying customers who bear the brunt of these crimes as the resulting financial implications can mean money has to be diverted from planned enhancements.
“All at Northern are determined to deliver our vision of making a positive impact for the North and we will continue to carry out all necessary work to protect the public money that is so vital in making this a reality.”