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“97% of passengers are with us on this issue” says Northern as train operator releases annual fare dodging statistics

Northern says 97% of its passengers are ‘with us’ when it comes to tackling the issue of fare dodgers on its network as it released the annual figures from its Debt Recovery and Prosecutions Unit.


The train operator says ticketless travel accounted for as little as 3% of journeys on its network during the last twelve months (1 Apr 2023 to 31 March 2024) – the lowest on record.

However, during the same period, they still had to investigate 57,302 reports of attempted fare evasion, issue 41,922 Penalty Fare Notices and attend 172 court sittings – activity which ultimately helped recover almost £4 million (£3.97m) of lost revenue for the taxpayer.

Mark Powles, commercial and customer director at Northern, said:

“The reality is that fare dodgers expect the taxpayer to pick up the tab for their journey – and that’s just not on.

“The rail industry receives a great deal of public subsidy and we have a responsibility to do everything we can to reduce that figure – starting by ensuring everyone pays their way.

“Clearly, with almost 97% of people boarding our trains doing the right thing and buying a ticket for their journey, they are with us on this issue.”

In January, Northern reported a 20% drop in the number of penalty fares issued in the first year since the government increased the fine for those travelling without a ticket to £100. That 20% reduction is maintained into a second year with the figures released today.

Ticket checks carried out by conductors on-board their trains and the growing use of physical ticket gatelines at major stations have reassured customers that Northern takes fare evasion seriously.

Commenting on the wider benefits of tackling fare evasion, Powles added:

“In cases of persistent fare evasion, there is often an element of anti-social behaviour to deal with too.

“By tackling the root cause and keeping those responsible for that behaviour off our trains we can create a safer environment for our customers.”

Northern has invested in the largest network of digital ticket infrastructure of any train operator in the country, making it easier than ever to buy a ticket via their app, website, one of more than 600 ticket machines across the network and ticket offices too.

Fare evaders are prosecuted under the provisions of the Regulation of Railways Act 1889 and the Railway Byelaws made pursuant to the Transport Act 2000. In cases of ticket fraud, perpetrators are prosecuted under the Fraud Act 2006.

Northern is the second largest train operator in the UK, with nearly 2,500 services a day to more than 500 stations across the North of England.