Transport for London (TfL) is losing £100m to fare evasion yearly. People skip the fare in a wide range of ways from failing to tap the Oyster card in and out to using fake cards. Consequently, it is the first time the annual loss to fare dodging reaches a three digit number. The last official estimates in 2016 were £86m.
According to TfL, however, the £15m rise in revenue loss is due to an improvement in calculations rather than an increase in fare evasion. The agency is “significantly investing in technology to improve its targeting of fare evasion” explains Siwan Hayward, director of compliance and policing at TfL.
Either way, TfL faces a high fare evasion cost and a deficit of about £700m in the next financial year. Thus, the situation must be tackled. “It is even more imperative that we go after those people who deliberately avoid paying their fares now” stats Hayward.
How TfL can reduce fare evasion cost
The independent statutory watchdog for transport users in the city London TravelWatch calls for more inspectors and investment in security improvements. The director of policy at London TravelWatch, Tim Bellenger, also suggested introducing “a confidential reporting line for abused concessionary tickets”
The director of compliance and policing at TfL, Siwan Hayward, also plans to toughen fare enforcement. “We will push for the toughest penalties for anyone caught fare evading on our services through continued partnership working with the police and intelligence gathering” she said.
Currently there are 450 revenue controllers employed across the network. Fines for failing to pay are £80.
For more information on the cost of fare evasion in London, you can check BBC’s article “Fare dodging costs London £100m a year”