Monday 4 March 2024
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Rail passengers warned flat phone battery excuse ‘won’t work’ for fare dodging

East Midlands Railway (EMR) is reminding customers using digital e-tickets on their services to ensure they always have sufficient battery power to present their ticket and electronic railcard for inspection – or customers could be liable for a £100 penalty fare.

The operator says that whilst there may be a legitimate reason for customers who are caught ‘power short’, EMR’s revenue protection teams and train conductors have no means of distinguishing between those genuine customers and those deliberately attempting to fare-evade.

In such circumstances, EMR staff will have no option but to issue the national penalty fare, which has recently increased to £100.

EMR gateline staff often have access to phone chargers and may ask customers unable to show e-tickets to charge their phones or buy another ticket – this can lead to an unnecessary delay.

Most EMR trains provide customers access to charge phones if needed.

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Neil Grabham, Customer Services Director at East Midlands Railway, said:

“Customers not only have a duty to buy a ticket before they board one of our trains – but also they must be able to present it for inspection.

“Some fraudulent travellers think they can avoid paying for an e-ticket by pretending they bought one and then informing EMR staff that their phone has no charge when challenged. This excuse won’t work and if the phone cannot be charged, EMR enforcement officers will issue penalty fares.

“The majority of our trains provide customers the opportunity to charge their phones, while many of our gatelines have chargers available as needed.

“For the railway to successfully operate, improve, and secure investment, fares need to be paid for and if you choose to avoid paying for a ticket deliberately you should expect to receive a £100 penalty fare. Don’t risk it, buy a ticket!”

Fare evaders are prosecuted under the provisions of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 and the Railway Byelaws made pursuant to the Transport Act 2000.

A Penalty Fare may be charged if the customer:

  • Travels without a valid ticket
  • Is unable to produce the appropriate Railcard
  • Travels in First Class accommodation with a Standard ticket
  • Are 16 or over travelling on a child rate ticket
  • Travels beyond the destination of the ticket

Customers should buy their tickets online, from a ticket machine or from a ticket office. If they are using pay-as-you-go or a smartcard ticket, they should ensure they touch in to start their journey as required.

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