Published Thursday, 03 October 2013
Last year there were over 90 incidents of fare evasion. (© Pacemaker)
Between January and December last year, 22 rail passengers were identified for ticketing irregularities which resulted in fines of £2,508 being collected.
In addition, 70 penalty fares for fare evasion that were issued by rail staff resulted in fines of £1,579.40
All of the passengers who tried to use the excuses when caught without a valid ticket were issued with an on the spot fine and/or prosecuted by Translink.
Hilton Parr, Head of Customer Services, Translink NI Railways said: "We've really heard every excuse under the sun from passengers for attempting to travel without paying.
"The majority of our customers are honest and pay the correct fare and as such it is only right that we take a tough line with those who try to fare dodge - the point I would make is that no matter who you are, if you want to travel on our services you have to pay."
The average fine issued to fare evaders in 2012 was £20 plus the value of the ticket for the distance they travelled.
If an offending passenger does not pay on the spot and is unable to produce ID, the Revenue Protection Team may bring the matter to the attention of the police.
Non-payment of the penalty fare may result in a court appearance plus a fine of up to £1000.
Mr Parr continued: "Some passengers probably take a chance to see if they can get away without paying, just to save a few pounds, but having a criminal record for an offence like fare evasion could seriously damage their long term future and ruin plans to work or even just travel abroad."
Translink's top fare dodger excuses:
- "I am only travelling one stop."
- "I bought a ticket earlier but I've lost it."
- "I didn't hear the conductor asking if I needed a ticket - I was asleep/had my headphone on/was looking out the window."
- "You are a public service and I paid my taxes, now you are looking more money."
- "I am a part-time police officer, so I don't have to pay." (He got fined and lost his job)
- "My brother is a solicitor and you will be in big trouble."
- "I thought it was still 2011." (Student with an out-of-date card by 1 year)
- "I just bought this ticket before I got on the train, your machines must be wrong." (Customer with an out-of-date ticket)
- "There was no toilet paper in your toilet, so I had to use the ticket, that's not my fault."
- "My Mum/Dad have paid for my ticket at the other end."
- Telling the line manager: "My uncle is the line manager here".
© UTV News