New technology to catch train fare dodgers is to be deployed at “known hotspots” across Northern’s network, Britain’s second-largest train operator.
The system is installed at barriers to automatically detect whether a ticket is valid and also sends an alert to staff if additional checks are required.
These additional checks include whether a passenger has the appropriate railcard or is eligible for a child discount.
During a trial of the technology at Manchester Victoria station last month, some 180 fare dodgers were caught in one day alone.
“This technology will be invaluable for our gate line and revenue protection colleagues whose job it is to ensure ticket checks are carried out quickly and efficiently,” said Northern’s customer and commercial director, Mark Powles.
“Unfortunately, we know that a small minority of customers try to exploit the automated nature of barrier checks to travel on tickets they know they’re not eligible to use.
“The kit is very easy to install and can be deployed to known hotspots across the whole network to help tackle this fraudulent activity.”
Northern serves more than 500 stations across northern England and in recent weeks, has been among the operators responsible for cancellations of thousands of trains across the region, mainly due to staff shortages.
Industry body, the Rail Delivery Group, estimates that around £240m is lost through fare evasion across Britain’s railways each year.
Last month, the Department for Transport announced that the current £20 fine for travelling on a train in England without a valid ticket will increase to £100 from 23 January 2023.