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£70 on-the-spot fines for travelling without a tram ticket starts today in Nottingham

Tram bosses in Nottingham launch a “zero-tolerance” approach to fare dodgers from today 21 March in a bid to clamp down on people using the network without paying.

Inspection teams will increase ticket checks from Monday, 21 March with Tramlink and NET  fining people £70 on the spot if they are found to be travelling on trams without a valid ticket or other proof they have paid.

The organisations have confirmed a “proportion” of the income from the fines will be used to help the crisis in Ukraine and to support refugees.

It comes as councillors from both the county and city councils expressed their concerns at people “abusing” the tram network by not paying.

Calls were made to increase inspection teams at peak times in the morning and the evenings and to target children and teenagers who don’t pay for their travel.

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Andrew Conroy, chief operating officer of Tramlink, told councillors the zero-tolerance approach is being brought in to reduce the number of fare dodgers.

He said the two organisations aim to have ticket checkers on roughly 10 per cent of all trams, and have set a target of reducing the proportion of people caught to five per cent or lower.

At present, however, he said the number of fare dodgers is roughly 6.8 per cent of all travellers and the number is something “we need to bring down”.

Speaking in the meeting, he added: “We’re going to have a period of zero tolerance on the trams as far as fair evasion goes.

“From March 21 we will be having zero tolerance, we’re doubling the size of our revenue protection team and we’ve spent the last four or five months on an education programme for customers saying you still need to buy a ticket.

“We’re going out with a strong campaign saying ‘please get a ticket before you board’ because it is zero tolerance now.

“We’re hoping to reward fare-paying customers and the ultimate aim is to never have to penalty fare a customer, our target for this is zero, but at the moment we’re nowhere near close to that.

“For anybody who has to pay a penalty fare during this time, we’re going to be giving a proportion of that money to Ukraine refugees and that starts next week.”

The move was welcomed by members of the advisory group as they called on tram bosses to be more firm on fare evasion.

Councillor Gordon Wheeler (Con), who represents West Bridgford West, said: “I’ve seen inspectors on-board but usually between the hours of 12noon and 2pm when the only people using the tram are old people like me.

“What about the mornings when children are on there and there’s not an inspector to be seen? There are loads of kids jumping on the tram and not a sniff of people paying for a ticket. That’s when you need your inspectors.

“I’m very pleased the money will be going to Ukrainian people, that’s incredible news, but I think policing this is hugely important.”

Cllr Eric Kerry (Con), who represents Toton, Chilwell and Attenborough, added: “I see it all the time almost every day, the number of young kids, particularly in the evenings and weekends who just jump on.

“They’re not buying a ticket they’re just jumping on, maybe for a few stops, and they always look to see if there are any inspectors on the tram at the time.”

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It comes as the tram bosses confirmed fares will be increasing in the coming weeks, with single tickets to rise by 20p and 30p for day fares.

The operators are also planning to work closely with Nottingham Forest, Notts County and Nottinghamshire CCC to introduce ‘season tickets’ when the clubs play at home.

This, they hope, will reduce the number of people travelling to games by cars and increase levels of tram users at peak times.

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