Why? Because we can!

Posted in transport by allovermcr on July 7, 2009

Metrolink respond to a few questions raised by their recent decision to increase penalty fares (‘standard fares’)

-Why did Metrolink/GMPTE decide to increase the penalty fare?

GMPTE has introduced a new standard fare scheme to target persistant fare evaders and provide more of a deterrent for ticketless travel. For the first and every offence the standard fare is now £100, or £50 if paid within 14 days.

-What evidence do you have that a £100 maximum penalty fare leads to less fare-dodging than the £80 upper fee that was previously in place?

We are currently monitoring fare evasion since the implementation of the new standard fare. The previous standard fare ranged from £10 for the 1st offence if paid on the spot to the £80 you mention for the 4th offence. The escalation steps in the previous standard fare have been removed and replaced with one level for all offences to provide a more effective deterrent to people intending to travel without a valid ticket or pass.

-How much extra revenue is the increase expected to raise?

We don’t know how much revenue this will generate but all money from Metrolink fares, including standard fares, is reinvested in the system to make improvements and enhance the service for passengers.

-Why are the Metrolink penalty fares considerably higher than the respective fees charged, for example, on national rail journeys and on all modes of public transport in London?

GMPTE’s standard fare is not regulated by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) and as such GMPTE is able to change the standard fare level on Metrolink. The Penalty Fare Scheme, which is regulated by the ORR, is used by other transport systems in the UK such as heavy rail.

Er, so that’s ‘because we can’, then.

And, whilst removing ‘escalation steps’ might conceivably help cut fare evasion, there’s no real evidence that a higher upper penalty fare – that will hit low earners the hardest – will have the significant effect tackling the persistent fare-evasion they hope it will. That must be a great relief to anyone who gets clobbered for £100 after accidentally losing a ticket or not noticing their season ticket has gone out of date!