Translink NI Railways has revealed some of the most outrageous excuses used by passengers who attempted to travel without paying for tickets.
They include: “I am only travelling one stop”
“I bought a ticket earlier but I’ve lost it!!”
“I didn’t hear the conductor asking if I needed a ticket – I was asleep/had my headphone on/was looking out the window”
“You are a public service and I paid my taxes, now you are looking more money.”
“I am a Part Time Police Officer, so I don’t have to pay.” (He got fined and lost his job)
“My brother is a solicitor and you will be in big trouble.”
“I thought it was still 2011.” (Student with an out-of-date card by 1 year)
“I just bought this ticket before I got on the train, your machines must be wrong” (Customer with an out-of-date ticket)
“There was no toilet paper in your toilet, so I had to use the ticket, that’s not my fault.”
“My Mum/Dad have paid for my ticket at the other end (insert location)”
And finally, “My uncle is the line Manager here”, said to Line Manager!
Between January and December last year 22 rail passengers were identified for ticketing irregularities which resulted in fines of £2,508 being collected. In addition, seventy penalty fares for fare evasion, that were issued by our rail staff resulted in fines of £1,579.40
All of the passengers who used the excuses above had one thing in common: they were all issued with an on the spot fine and/or prosecuted by Translink for fare evasion.
Hilton Parr, Head of Customer Services, Translink NI Railways said, “We’ve really heard every excuse under the sun from passengers for attempting to travel without paying. Some of the best are included above! The majority of our customers are honest and pay the correct fare and as such it is only right that we take a tough line with those who try to fare dodge - the point I would make is that no matter who you are, if you want to travel on our services you have to pay.”
The average fine issued to fare evaders in 2012 was £20 plus the value of the ticket for the distance they travelled. If the offending passenger does not pay on the spot and is unable to produce ID, the Revenue Protection Team may bring the matter to the attention of the police. Non-payment of the penalty fare may result in a court appearance plus a fine of up to £1000. Aside from that, anyone caught and prosecuted will have a criminal record which could prevent them visiting countries like the US and Australia.
Hilton continued, “Some passengers probably take a chance to see if they can get away without paying, just to save a few pounds, but having a criminal record for an offence like fare evasion could seriously damage their long term future and ruin plans to work or even just travel abroad.
You can buy your ticket at the Sales and Information Desk in the station or, if travelling from an unmanned halt, from the conductor as he passes through the train. In addition why not purchase your ticket from your mobile phone using the Translink mLink app.
You can avoid the queues by pre-purchasing your monthly and weekly tickets online or by visiting the Sales and Information Desks up to four days in advance of your new ticket starting.
There are several great value fare options available which makes travelling by train attractive, including one third off fares after 09.30 hours, iLink for integrated bus and rail travel and yLink which offers discounts of up to one third off fares for young people aged 16-24. Pay the fare or pay the penalty”