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Fair Treatment for All Fare Paying Customers

Posted: 29th August 2016
  • Some 900,000 rail journeys every year where customers deliberately avoid paying their fare
  • Most common form of fraudulent travel is declaring a shorter journey than that actually taken
  • Over 80% of customers pass booking offices or ticket vending machines at their local station – resulting in longer queues at automatic gates at end of journey

ScotRail is taking action to tackle premeditated fare fraud, as part of its Buy Before You Board campaign, to encourage customers to buy their tickets before getting on the train.

Customer surveys revealed passengers are fed-up with long queues at destination stations, with people waiting to buy tickets during the morning peak.  They also highlighted that deliberate fare fraud  is frustrating for the vast majority of honest fare-paying customers.

Recent ticket monitoring exercises revealed:

  • On arrival at Glasgow Central, 19 customers declared a shorter journey –  than the one they had actually travelled – during one morning peak-time focus on the East Kilbride and Barrhead lines
  • 132 people travelled without a ticket on 10 services monitored.
  • 450 flexible journey tickets being used incorrectly during four days of monitoring at Glasgow Queen Street station

It’s estimated that 900,000 rail journeys are made in Scotland every year where the customer deliberately seeks to avoid paying their fare.

  • To help customers buy tickets in advance, ScotRail has invested in Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) at 26 new sites, as well as upgrading the machines at a further 100 sites. In total there are now 260 TVMs across the network. A further 20 will be installed by the end of 2016.
  • The rollout of SMART ticketing across all routes gives customers the option to load season tickets onto the card by validating their purchase at any of the 417 platform validators or via a TVM. Further ticket types will be introduced to SMART ticketing over this winter.

Phil Campbell, ScotRail’s Head of Revenue Protection, said:

“We provide a service and it’s only fair that everyone pays the correct fare for the service they use. We’ve invested heavily in facilities to make it much easier for our customers to buy tickets in advance.  This means that staff on trains have more time to help customers with travel or other queries.

“Buying before boarding will result in much shorter queues to get through the gates at busy destination stations such as Glasgow Central.”

Further ticket monitoring and action will continue over different parts of the rail network in the coming weeks.

For further information, please contact:

Alison McHarg, ScotRail Communications on 0141 335 5087/4269/4506 or email

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