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Train fare, not penalty fare

Comment 11th July 2010

Train companies should be banned from imposing a penalty fare on people who, for whatever reason, have failed to buy a ticket before travelling.

Why does this matter?

This sounds like a charter for faredogders and of course, there are people who will try to get round the system. But there are a host of perfectly innocent reasons why someone may not have purchased a ticket before travelling – from the pressure of not wanting to miss a train to simply forgetting. Maybe this is naive. But what is wrong with simply giving the person the opportunity to buy the ticket on the train or at the end of the train journey before going through the ticket barriers? If someone is willing to buy a ticket, they should be allowed to – and yet, ticket inspectors can be quite inflexible and insist on charging a penalty fare. Whether the ticket is bought before or during or at the end, the train company still gets its money. 

With automatic ticket barriers being rolled out at all but the smallest stations, it is highly unlikely that passengers will be able to travel without a ticket anyway.

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