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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Dave Burke

Fare-dodgers without train ticket will be fined £100 - five times current £20

Fare-dodgers caught without a valid train ticket will be hit with a £100 fine from next year - a fivefold rise - transport chiefs announced today.

In January the government will increase National Rail penalty fares for the first time since 2005.

At the moment the fine is £20, or twice the fare to the next station, depending which is higher.

The government estimates fare evasion costs taxpayers £240million a year - and said the increase is needed to make railways "sustainable".

It says the current fine level no longer acts as a deterrent.

The change will apply across England and Wales from January 23.

The new charge will come into force on January 23, the government announced (Getty Images)

Fines will drop to £50 plus the price of a ticket for the journey if paid within 21 days, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

A DfT spokesperson said: “Fare evasion is estimated to cost taxpayers around £240million a year.

“We need penalty fares to act as a proper deterrent, and we are putting in place a modern system that will help create a more sustainable railway.”

At the moment people caught on Transport for London (TfL) services are fined £80, while those on Manchester Metrolink have to pay £100.

The DfT said: "The aim of the change is to modernise the system, creating a more sustainable railway by reducing ticketless travel.

"This will ultimately reduce the cost to the taxpayer, who are currently footing the bill of those passengers travelling without a ticket."

A consultation document published in the summer said: "The £20 value has not increased since 2005. In real terms, this means that this penalty has decreased from £20 to around £14 (in 2005 prices).

"In light of this real-terms reduction, the department believes that Penalty Fares are no longer fulfilling their deterrent function.

"We want to update the value of the Penalty Fare to ensure the system remains an effective deterrent and the primary method by which the majority of TOCs manage fare evasion across their networks.

"By acting as an effective deterrent, more revenue will be generated by the railway, which can be re-invested to improve the quality of passenger services."

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