‘Shut barriers to fare dodgers’
Stations accused of helping evaders
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.”