‘Shut bar­ri­ers to fare dodgers’

Sta­tions ac­cused of help­ing evaders

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

TRANS­PORT for Lon­don (TfL) is ‘mak­ing life easy’ for fare dodgers by leav­ing ticket bar­ri­ers open.

That is ac­cord­ing to Dr Onkar Sa­hota, the Labour Lon­don As­sem­bly mem­ber for Eal­ing & Hilling­don, who claims the lack of se­cu­rity is con­tribut­ing to £61m of rev­enue lost an­nu­ally to fare dodg­ing.

He said the worst of­fend­ing sta­tion in the bor­ough is Ruis­lip Manor, where the bar­ri­ers are left open 19.19 per cent of the time.

Dr Sa­hota said: “The vast ma­jor­ity of Lon­don­ers are hon­est about th­ese things, but there will al­ways be a small mi­nor­ity who take ad­van­tage and try to avoid pay­ing their fares.

“We should be do­ing all we can to crack down on fare dodgers, not mak­ing life easy for them by leav­ing some sta­tion ticket bar­ri­ers open half the time.”

While real-time data on whether ticket bar­ri­ers are left open is not col­lected, TfL undertakes reg­u­lar unan­nounced ‘mys­tery shop­per’ ex­er­cises to mon­i­tor whether ticket bar­ri­ers are left open.

Across the whole tube, net­work bar­ri­ers were left open 6.91 per cent of the time in June and July this year, com­pared with only 3.18 per cent of the time over the same pe­riod in 2011. Since 2011, the per­cent­age of ticket bar­ri­ers be­ing left open has in­creased ev­ery year.

Dr Sa­hota added: “By cut­ting 950 staff from sta­tions, TfL risks hav­ing to leave ticket bar­ri­ers open more of­ten, mak­ing fare eva­sion that lit­tle bit eas­ier. It’s a to­tal false econ­omy if the money saved by re­duc­ing staff is then lost as a re­sult of in­creased fare dodg­ing.”

While tech­ni­cal faults can cause ticket bar­ri­ers to be left open, TfL rules state that when there are no mem­bers of staff avail­able to help pas­sen­gers on the gate­line the bar­ri­ers must be left open, which loses £61.27m each year, ac­cord­ing to es­ti­mates.

Steve Bur­ton, TfL’s di­rec­tor of en­force­ment and on-street op­er­a­tions, said fare eva­sion on TfL’s rail and bus net­works has ‘fallen to around just two per cent of all jour­neys’.

He added: “This shows that the over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of our cus­tomers sim­ply want to pay the cor­rect fare and we now have more staff than ever be­fore in ticket halls to as­sist them.

“We take fare eva­sion of any kind ex­tremely se­ri­ously and com­mu­ni­cate the con­se­quences of be­ing caught with­out a valid ticket.

“For ev­ery jour­ney, cus­tomers must have a valid ticket or tap in and out us­ing Oys­ter or a con­tact­less pay­ment card – even if the ticket bar­ri­ers are open.

“If cus­tomers do not tap in or out then they will be charged a max­i­mum fare for the jour­ney.”

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