Train ticket dodgers face huge increase in fines from TODAY - 'There's really no excuse'

It comes ahead of a rise in ticket prices, as passengers face a hike of nearly 6% from March 5

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If you travel on a train without a train ticket you could face a fine of £100, as new rules on penalty fares come into effect from today.

The Department for Transport (DfT) decided to increase the penalty fare after the previous £20 flat rate was not seen as a deterrent to stop fare dodgers.

There hasn’t been an increase on the penalty since 2005.

It comes ahead of a rise in rail ticket prices, as millions of train passengers face a hike of nearly six per cent - the largest in more than a decade – from March 5.

The Rail Delivery Group estimates that fare evasion is costing the rail industry an estimated £240million per year.

The new rules will bring the National Rail penalty fare more in line with the £80 fine handed out by Transport for London, as well as the Manchester Metrolink which charges fare dodgers £100.

The penalty is reduced if paid within 21 days, costing £50 plus the cost of a ticket for the passenger’s journey on that train.

The DfT said the level of increase was based on public consultation into what will make an effective deterrent, and that the new fare would stop thousands of people “riding for free at the taxpayers’ expense”.

The increase will only impact travellers without valid tickets and not those passengers who do buy a ticket to travel on the railway.

A DfT spokesperson said: “Fare evasion is estimated to cost taxpayers around £240 million a year.

“We need penalty fares to act as a proper deterrent, and we are putting in place a modern system that will help create a more sustainable railway.”

Speaking on Breakfast with Eamonn & Isabel on GB News, travel expert Simon Calder said there is “really no excuse” to travel without a valid ticket.

He said: “If you have an opportunity to buy a ticket and you choose not to at the station, then you are going to be in serious trouble.

“There will be lots of people who will be thinking ‘it’s going in one minute, I’m going to run for it’ – they now face this penalty fare.

“The idea is that with so many different ways of buying a ticket there’s really no excuse for not having a ticket.”