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De-criminalise failing to have a ticket on public transport

Comment 15th March 2013

I would not normally be in favour of this. But:

1) Rail fares are now enormously expensive (it can cost well over £100 to go from London to Swindon for example).

2) They are enormously complicated, especially around London.

3) Making a mistake is not a defence against being taken to court.

3) Rail companies have deliberatly reduced the sources of face-to-face advice on buying tickets (station staff/train guards).

4) Automated ticket machines rarely give all the fare options, and rarely give full information about the fares you are buying.

5) Queues are main stations are often enormous, giving you little time to navigate fares.

Basicly, why should train companies have the force of the law in enforcing an increasingly discredited system? The incentives are for them to make more complex fare structures (especially by created ever more catagories of 'off-peak' tickets), knowing they can advertise the lowest fares and pick up penalty fares from people who fail to understand the system. Barrier staff only catch the people who make genunine mistakes – fare dodgers can easily follow people through barriers/jump over them, knowing they cannot be persued in a busy station.

Give the train companies an ultimatum, sort out the fare strucutres or take away their big stick.

Why does this matter?

Because transport is hugely important for people's working and social lives.

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