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Penalty Fares

The operation of a Penalty Fares scheme is one way in which transport providers can try to reduce ticketless travel. On routes where stops are frequent and trains or buses busy, it is not always practical to check every passenger’s ticket between every station. Moreover, relying on visual inspection of tickets at station barriers, which in itself can be both labour intensive and inconvenient to passengers is also not always practical. An alternative solution adopted by a number of transport providers is to introduce a penalty fare scheme.

Where penalty fares apply, passengers must buy a ticket before starting their journey wherever there are facilities for them to do so. If a passenger boards a bus or train without a ticket at a station where ticket facilities were available, they will be liable to pay a penalty if they meet a ticket inspector appointed as an Authorised Collector.

All penalty fare schemes must comply with a set of Regulations laid down by the Secretary of State and with a set of rules made by the Department for Transport (DfT). The current rules are called the Penalty Fare Rules 2002. Under the rules, any operator wishing to charge penalty fares on all or a part of their network must first submit a scheme to the DfT for approval. The DfT ensures that operators comply with the rules, the Regulations and the provisions of their schemes.

A Penalty Fare Notice must be paid or appealed against within the stated time in order to avoid further costs or action being taken by the Transport Provider to recover the debt.

You can download a copy of the current Penalty Fare Rules 2002 or the Penalty Fares Policy document by visiting our Document Library.