Fare dodging arse gets caught

14 April 2014

Oyster cards in London - the cheap way to travel? Fare dodging can be quite funny. Although we're talking mainly as in a 'happy accident' way, and nothing to the level of a hedge fund manager avoiding £42,550.

That's an actual pisstake.

The git-heel would travel from Stonegate in East Sussex, and regularly travelled back and forth to the capital. He'd get off at London Bridge and then change for his office in Cannon Street, which with his Oyster, would cost a third less than his whole journey.

The station at Stonegate has no Oyster tappy barriers, and so his usual journey was significantly less when tapping in and out of Cannon Street.

He also successfully avoided any ticket inspectors on the trains.

He was discovered last November, when a ticket inspector was standing at a terminal at Cannon Street and spotted awry behaviour. He paid back the £42,550 in dodged fares, plus £450 in legal costs, within three days as part of an out-of-court settlement.

Southeastern trains were made aware of the man's expired season ticket hadn't been updated since 2008.

He has, unsurprisingly, also now updated his season ticket.

TOPICS:   Travel

7 comments

  • FatalException
    Nowt wrong with fare dodging on the train. Whilst we've got a shitty privatised system we should fuck it up as much as possible until we get the nationalised service we deserve.
  • Mark W.
    I think a court case would have served the public interest. Although if he wanted to keep it from his employer, by now they will have an inkling who he is.
  • jokester4
    I personally don't think trains are economically viable in this country (at least not in the way they are currently run) - train tickets cost an absolute fortune and that's after being subsidized by tax-payers! I never use trains and pay extortionate amounts to drive my car but I still have to pay for the rail network!!! WTF??? I was under the impression that public transport meant huge savings since it is effectively 1 vehicle taking dozens/hundreds of people to the same location instead of dozens/hundreds of smaller vehicles doing the same job.... so why is it usually more expensive to take a train somewhere than driving your car there? And far more expensive when there are several of you traveling.
  • David
    @jokester4: the problem with public transport is that everyone wants to travel at the same time, plus you have to pay for the staff providing the service. When you drive, your labour (the driving) is effectively free. In order to provide a regular service, trains and buses and trams are run even when there are very few passengers. This is usually the sort of service you end up subsidising as a taxpayer. When the trains are busy they are completely full and the people who pay the most to travel end up standing up in discomfort. The only real answer is to stagger journeys so that the "rush hour" becomes from, say, 6am to 11am in the morning, and from 2pm to 9pm in the evening. Restrict all the free and low cost travel to the 11am to 2pm window and you might make it all more balanced. Of course this doesn't help when different people in the same family might start and stop at different times but there simply isn't a good way to get everyone to work for 9 and home for 6. Do I have to mention bumming foxes to make a comment?
  • Alexis
    Everybody is having a go at this bloke, but he chose to pay £43,000 over a £1000 court fine and a caution. So he's hardly getting away scott free because he's rich.
  • Brad
    If I could get away with it I would. Like Jimmy Carr and his Tax Loophole, who can blame him for trying to pay less tax.
  • Jamey
    So it kinda sounds like the train company did some detective work here and delved into this guy's Oyster history a fair bit. I wonder how far that went, so let's speculate a little... I think we can probably assume that when he first got pulled aside by an inspector he didn't immediately fall to his knees crying and confess his entire fare-dodging history right there and then. He probably admitted to the fare dodge that day and agreed to pay the fine for that particular day (prob £25 or £50). After that the train company must have decided to look into his records and start extrapolating. Or did they investigate first, and was the inspector actually waiting for this guy specifically at the station that day ready to reel off his entire history of offences? Either way the train company would need to have looked up at least some of his details and done at least a small amount of detective work. Which raises the question - will this now become the norm? Will the ticket inspectors now shift into office jobs where they investigate suspected dodgers by going through their account and personal details and making judgement calls? Or maybe the train companies can use algorithms like when your credit card company automatically blocks transactions that match certain criteria (EG two transactions happening at a similar time but geographically too far apart to have both been you). All of this is wild speculation and thinking out loud, but to bring it back to one basic point - I think there is more to this story than meets the eye. The guy who was fare dodging is never going to come out and talk about it and the train company aren't going to volunteer info about any snooping they did, so unless people start asking questions their actions will pass without suspicion.

What do you think?

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