Bosses at West Midlands Railway (WMR) have issued a warning to fare evaders after new figures released today revealed the company issued thousands of fines for non-payment last year.

The warning comes one year after the national Penalty Fare for ticketless travel increased to a minimum of £100 in a bid to cut fare evasion.

In 2023, WMR and sister company London Northwestern Railway issued a total of 41,691 Penalty Fares to ticketless travellers. In addition, 8,760 of the Penalty Fares resulted in prosecution through the courts with a further 1,208 cautions issued. More than £300,000 of revenue was also recovered in 2023 by the company’s digital fraud team.

Annamaria Izzard, head of revenue protection at WMR, said: 

“Millions of pounds of vital revenue is lost due to fare evasion every year and I hope these figures encourage people to think twice about ticketless travel.

“Our teams are out on trains and at stations checking tickets every day and the clear message to passengers is that trying to dodge your fare is simply not worth the risk of getting a fine and potential prosecution through the courts.

‚ÄúEveryone who boards one of our services should have a valid ticket for their journey to ensure fairness for paying customers on the railway.‚ÄĚ

The Penalty Fare increased to a minimum of ¬£100 one year ago, on 23 January 2023. The penalty can be reduced to ¬£50 ‚Äď plus the price of a full single fare applicable – if paid within 21 days.

The national scheme means passengers could have to pay a Penalty Fare if they:

  • Travel without a valid ticket
  • Can‚Äôt show an appropriate Railcard for a discounted ticket
  • Travel in First Class with a Standard Class ticket
  • Are travelling on a child ticket, but are 16 or over
  • Travel beyond the destination on their ticket

For more information on Penalty Fares, visit Penalty fares policy | West Midlands Railway