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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Patrick Edrich

Northern issue 'final' warning to students ahead of penalty rail fare price hike

Northern has issued a "final" warning to teenagers ahead of a major price hike in penalty rail fares.

Northern has called on students to get their under-16 education season tickets before the end of this week ahead of a fivefold fine increase. Rail passengers caught travelling without a valid ticket on trains in England will face a fine of £100 from Monday, January 23.

The Department of Transport (DfT) said last year fines were being increased for the first time since 2005 because they no longer acted as a deterrent against fare dodging. The current penalty for travelling without a valid ticket is £20, or twice the ticket price at the next station, depending on which is higher.

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But from next week rail passengers travelling without a valid ticket or 'promise to pay' card will be issued with the government's new £100 fine. A spokesperson for Northern said student fare evasion is something the rail operator has been working in collaboration with secondary schools and university technical colleges to combat.

Northern said many of the fare evasion incidents take place when students travel short distances between rural and suburban stations that are not barrier-controlled. In response to this, the rail operator said it has developed an under-16 education season ticket that offers students up to 75% off the normal adult fare.

Northern, which services more than 500 stations across the North, has appealed to students to take advantage of the ticket - or face the inflated fine. Mark Powles, commercial and customer director at Northern, said: "Under-16 education season tickets offer savings that can be worth hundreds of pounds per year.

"Having one also means a student always has the means to get to and from school – and won’t succumb to peer pressure, travel without a ticket and risk being issued with a £100 penalty fare. It’s no way to spend your pocket money - don't risk it."

Northern issued a list of participating schools with details of how to buy the under-16 education season ticket. Further details can be found here.

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