Fare evasion rate in SNCF Occitanie trains is 11%. This amounts to an annual loss of 8 million euros, equivalent to a TER of last generation. In order to tackle this issue, the French operator will reinforce its anti-fraud strategy. Starting December 9th, SNCF will set up a new customer service organization at stations and trains of the French region.
Controllers will now work in mobile teams of 2 to 8 agents. These will be spread around trains and stations of the lines Toulouse – Latour-de-Carol, Toulouse – Brive, Nimes – Le-Grau-du-Roi and Carcassonne – Quillan. The anti-fraud checks should not cost more to SNCF. “It is a redeployment of agents: they will be in the right place at the right time” states SNCF Marketing Director, Emmanuelle Arnaud.
The aim of new controller teams is to help reduce fare evasion, together with other actions such as fines and fare gates. SNCF also wishes to improve information and care of travellers and to prevent incivility. “We realized that these incivilities are mostly produced by fare dodgers” comments Arnaud.
Higher fines for fare dodging
This year, SNCF increased the price of its fines. If the journey is less than 150 kilometers, fare dodgers must pay a fine of 50 euros. For greater distances, in addition to the sanction, the passenger must pay the fare.
If evaders do not pay the sanction on board, the fine increases to 88 euros –plus the price of the ticket for journeys beyond 150 km–. After two months of non-payment, the amount rises to 375 euros.
Fare gates to prevent evasion
The French operator is also shifting to fare gates. In March, SNCF replaced the fixed security gates in Nice for automatic validation gates as part of its scheme to equip 14 major TGV stations with fare gates by 2018. In September, the company announced a vast program to do the same with 1800 turnstiles in Parisian stations. Some of which are more than 30 years old.
Anti-fraud operation in Paris
On October 23rd, SNCF carried out a vast anti-fraud operation in the six biggest Parisian stations. For three hours, between 3pm and 6pm, almost 550 agents controlled around 300,000 passengers. The result was 3,307 fines which raised a total of 78,000 euros.
SNCF estimates the average fraud rate at 7% for the entire Paris suburban network. This is equivalent to 220,000 cases per day. Consequently, the network loses 63 million euros per year.