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Over 7,500 fines handed out to fare dodgers by Nottingham tram operator this year

A crackdown on tram fare dodgers is needed to help protect the future of the network in Nottingham, the operator’s director of service says.

Network operator Nottingham Express Transport (NET) launched its “zero tolerance” campaign against passengers who have not paid for a ticket on Monday, December 4.

Plain-clothes officers, backed up by Nottinghamshire Police and security, will be deployed on trams and at stops across the city.

This year a total of 7,682 £70 fines were handed out to those who failed to pay for a ticket, and 2,580 customers had been prosecuted for not paying the fines.

NET has previously estimated about five per cent of passengers – or around one in 20 – use the network without paying, although it could be as high as seven per cent.

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A heightened presence of staff is an “effective way” of clamping down on the fare dodgers, says Sarah Turner, the director of service delivery and safety at NET.

“It still is a problem,” she told Notts TV.

“Anybody that chooses not to pay before they ride is committing theft and it is a problem for us, and more importantly it is a problem for our fare paying customers.

“We estimate between five and seven per cent total fare evasion, so it is something we are taking really seriously and need to tackle.

“Over the next four weeks there will be a real heightened presence of staff across the network.

“It causes problems for us. The revenue from our passengers really protects the long-term sustainability of the tram network.

“And there is nothing worse than a fare paying customer sat next to somebody who they know hasn’t paid for their fare, so that drops confidence in our honest fare paying customers.

“It’s really there to try and educate and deter people who will take the chance and show them, actually, this is important for Nottingham as a city that we have that network and the sustainability of the long-term tram.”

The crackdown comes after NET imposed stricter rules on its park and ride sites earlier in the year.

NET said some motorists had been using The Forest Park and Ride for overnight parking, while others had been parking in disabled bays without blue badges.

Others motorists had been parking on walkways instead of inside parking bays.

A 24-hour parking enforcement plan was introduced and persistent offenders can be punished by having their wheels clamped or vehicles towed.

In an NET performance update document, which will be discussed during a Nottingham City Council meeting on December 12, Trevor Stocker, the head of operations for Nottingham Trams Ltd, said: “Parking enforcement patrols were extended to Hucknall and Moor Bridge park and ride sites.

“Patrols continue to have a positive impact for our customers looking to use the car parks, whilst also contributing towards the overall security of the network, with officers deterring anti-social behaviour and criminal damage.

“During the period a small group of youths was noted at The Forest causing damage to vehicles; the activity was disrupted and reported to the police.”

Figures in the document show incidents of enforcement action are decreasing in number.

In September there were 245 incidents, with 72 vehicles clamped.

In October this had decreased to 195 overall incidents, with 55 vehicles clamped.

“Parking enforcement patrols are planned to progress to Clifton South and Phoenix Park during December, bringing all park and ride facilities under the same scheme,” Mr Stocker added.

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