Several railway stations operated by Northern now have red lines on their platforms.
This is because Northern is clamping down on people who travel without paying the fare. The red lines, which come with the stark warning ‘cross the line, risk a fine’, are part of that campaign.
In 2020, 30,000 penalty fares were issued by Northern and, for the vast majority of people who received the £20 fines, that was the end of the story.
However, some either refused to pay or were found to be persistent fare dodgers. That’s why there were more than 8,300 court prosecutions last year for people trying to avoid paying for their travel.
Jason Wade, Northern’s head of retail operations, said: “There are plenty of ways for our customers to buy tickets and we’ve made big improvements to our website, app and ticket machines in recent months.
“There are still some, however, who think they can travel without paying and we are doing all we can to tackle this small minority who think they are above the law.
“We have penalty fares in place across most routes of the Northern network which can see those who do not have valid tickets issued with on-the-spot fines.”
“In some cases, we are reluctantly left with no option but to take the matter to court where the average fine in the past 12 months has been just over £400.
“A court appearance is very much the last resort and not something who choose to do lightly, but prospective fare dodgers should be aware that trying to avoid even a small value ticket could result in a hefty fine and even a criminal record.”
Jason hopes that those tempted to chance travelling without a ticket will head the warnings and red lines. “We want everyone to be aware of the requirement to have a valid ticket for travel and are doing all we can to remind our customers,” he said. “Most people will already have bought tickets before they get to our stations and we hope that these additional warnings will also encourage the small minority who don’t have tickets to buy before they board.”