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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Sophie Halle-Richards

Northern issues warning to all passengers as new law comes into force today

Bosses at Northern have issued a warning to all passengers as a new government law comes into force today (23 January).

The train operating company have advised customers that anyone travelling without a valid ticket will be issued with a £100 fine - a dramatic rise from the £20 penalty previously in place.

Fare evaders without a ticket or a 'promise to pay' notice will be able to pay a reduced £50 fee if paid within 21 days.

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It comes after the rail network issued a 'do not travel' warning at the start of the month, after hundreds of staff from the RMT and ASLEF trade unions walked out in a row over pay.

Since 2005, the penalty fare for ticket evaders has been £20, but it was felt by the industry that this figure was too low and no longer acted as a strong enough deterrent. As part of the government’s public consultation, 69% of respondents agreed that the £20 penalty fare was too low.

Industry body, the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) estimates that every year around £240 million is lost through fare evasion on Great Britain’s railways.

The new penalty fine comes into force today (PA)

Mark Powles, commercial and customer director at Northern, said: “The overwhelming majority of our customers – upwards of 95% - do the right thing and buy a ticket before they board one of our services.

“However, fare dodgers will find themselves having to dig deep if they continue to try and travel without buying a ticket. The £100 penalty fare is a government initiative that Northern and other train operators in England will begin to enforce from today

“With more ways than ever before to buy a ticket – be it online, through an app, at a self-service machine or ticket office – there really is no excuse. It is, however, totally avoidable for everyone who travels responsibly on our network.”

Money raised through penalty fares issued by Northern will, in-line with other revenue income streams, be re-invested in the rail industry to improve the service offered to all customers.

The £100 penalty fare forms part of The Railways (Penalty Fares) (Amendment) Regulations 2022. The increase in the penalty fare brings it in-line with penalty fares charged across much of Western Europe and by Transport for London (TfL) and Manchester’s Metrolink tram network.

Northern’s new timetable came into effect in December 2022 and all customers, especially those who have made regular journeys on specific train times, are advised to use the new 'Check My Timetable' feature on Northern’s website to see changes specific to their local station.


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